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Totally Silly?

Like most of humanity, I am a largely inexplicable and highly individual mixture of profligacy and frugality.  I think I should only wear the nicest Italian shoes, which are no longer affordable for the middle class.  So I wait like a cat in the bushes watching a bird, until they are discounted to the point that […]

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Posted by on July 23, 2013 at 6:20 am   This post has 28 responses.

Hey, Mayor Bloomberg! Here’s Your New Compost Plan

You may have read that Mayor Bloomberg has a new food scrap composting plan for New York City.  It works just the same way suburban food scrap programs do:  everybody gets a new bin, everybody has to take another step when they separate their trash, everybody has to haul...

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 at 5:27 am   This post has 18 responses.

Trees by the numbers

This sign was attached to a tree near my house. Did you hear or read the Arbor Day reports on the financial benefits of trees? On American Public Media’s Marketplace,  they used i-tree to calculate the value of single trees as well as entire urban plantings. A ficus tree...

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 at 7:23 am   This post has 8 responses.

Wild Bee, I think I love you…*

Guest Rant by Will Raap   Honey bees and wild pollinators need your help and need it now. Gardeners know that good pollination makes for better crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and raspberries. And that’s especially true for certain commercial crops like almonds, which need to have 1 million honey...

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 at 7:26 am   This post has 5 responses.

Here’s to No-Blow Gardens

Guest Rant by Evelyn Hadden Let’s face it, the outdoors is getting noisier, and not in a good way. It used to be that a person could find calm, quiet places even in the city — be it a park, a secluded backyard, or a low-traffic residential street. But...

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Posted by on March 21, 2013 at 6:55 am   This post has 57 responses.

Bluestone says good riddance

To plastic pots, that is. According to a press release I just got, Bluestone is the first perennial nursery to com­pletely replace plastic growing pots with biodegradable media.  I wish more nurseries would do this. I rather enjoy stepping on root-bound perennials in plastic pots before prying them out,...

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Posted by on March 19, 2013 at 7:43 am   This post has 26 responses.

The cat problem

And no, it’s not that there are two many pictures of them on Facebook. (There are, but that’s a discussion for another time.)  My husband and I have owned cats for over twenty years (2 different ones); they’ve always been kept inside, although the first one was briefly allowed...

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Posted by on February 4, 2013 at 8:39 am   This post has 34 responses.

Home Depot’s Leaf Bags and their Eco-Terrible “Tips”

I’m seeing lots of leaf bags in my neighborhood, like this collection from just one neighbor’s yard.  Though I was happy to see they’re made of paper (which is required by my town), a closer look revealed that these bags come with a message about lawn care – a...

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Posted by on December 7, 2012 at 9:25 am   This post has 35 responses.

Advanced Composting for Dairy Farmers

I stopped by the USDA research farm a couple of miles from my house to get a tour of their compost research, led by my former neighbor Walter Mulbry.  But any notion that the target audience here is gardeners or even homeowners is way off – this is about...

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Posted by on November 30, 2012 at 10:01 am   This post has 4 responses.

Bringing the green—or not so much?

You might not know we reelected a president last week from reading this site. We try to stick to gardening politics. But presidents do have an effect on environmental policies, conservation, farming and—eventually—gardening. A few years back I posted about the ten greenest presidents in U.S, history, according to...

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Posted by on November 12, 2012 at 8:26 am   This post has 7 responses.

Sunflower sutra

There is a climactic scene in the charming if strange independent movie Elvis & Anabelle. The lead male character, Elvis, a budding mortician, is about to commit suicide when he notices out his window that a field of sunflowers has magically burst into bloom outside his window. The sight...

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Posted by on October 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm   This post has 15 responses.

Stanford Organic Study Ignores Variety Differences

Rant readers, please welcome Dr. John Reganold of Washington State University, who has done groundbreaking work demonstrating the value of organic agriculture, including studies that show a correlation between the quality of the soil and the quality of the food it produces. In the wake of the recent furor...

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Posted by on September 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm   This post has 21 responses.

Unraveling the Mystery of the Cucumber Tendril

We’ve long marveled at the amazing holding power of tendrils like those of cucumbers, but scientists have been unsure about what makes them twist.  This very cool video employs time-lapse techniques and mechanical models to show us how.  From NPR’s  Science Friday. Just click that little “play” button.  The...

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Posted by on September 12, 2012 at 9:58 am   This post has 3 responses.

Gas and land

East Pond, at Gateway National Refuge Area. Photo courtesy of NPS. U.S. athletes triumphed during the recent Olympiad—loved watching it! I wish I could say the same about our triumphant leadership in other fields, especially when it comes to breaking away from dependence on fossil fuels. Where I live,...

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 at 9:03 am   This post has 14 responses.

Please Stop Liming your Soil Based on the pH!

Guest Rant by Phil Nauta, author of Building Soils Naturally: Innovative Methods for Organic Gardeners Soil pH is talked about a lot in the gardening world, but most people don’t understand it, so it’s generally misused. I’m here to rant about it.  To simplify what pH is, it’s basically...

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Posted by Phil Nauta on July 28, 2012 at 8:34 am   This post has 155 responses.

Plantagon!

UPDATE: See comments for a response from Plantagon Community Director Thomas Selig. Drumroll, please. I present to you the latest development in urban agriculture: a futuristic vertical greenhouse that—making use of integrated solutions for energy, excess heat, waste, CO2 and water—will be the latest methodology for providing fresh food...

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Posted by on June 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm   This post has 20 responses.

As pollinators for a native plant garden, honey bees suck!

Guest Rant by David Schmetterling, Montana Wildlife Gardener That’s right, they suck.  Someone had to say it. If you want honey bees (Apis mellifera) for say, I don’t know, honey- that is great.  No problem.  If you have converted a heterogeneous, beautiful landscape of native plants and wildlife into...

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 at 4:29 am   This post has 32 responses.

Federal landscapes go sustainable

Somehow I missed some really big news – the October 31 announcement of new requirements for federal landscapes.  Should I blame the less than eye-catching announcement itself, shown above?  Or maybe the administration is trying to keep this tree-hugging move under the radar.  Whatever – it's great news! Warning...

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 at 4:56 am   This post has 20 responses.

The Brand New USDA Hardiness Map: Already Out of Date?

Meet David W. Wolfe, Cornell plant scientist and expert on the impacts of climate change on agriculture. Wolfe is also the author of an absolutely delightful book about the soil, Tales from the Underground: A Natural History of Subterranean Life, that ought to be required reading for all gardeners. In the 2011...

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Posted by on February 3, 2012 at 3:58 am   This post has 12 responses.

Scotts MiracleGro and the National Wildlife Federation have Partnered Up

Almost two years ago we posted the news that the National Wildlife Federation was seeking input about possibly partnering up with various corporations, including such known wildlife-huggers as Ortho, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Spectracide.  Your comments were pretty darn negative, but seem to have gone unheeded.  Scotts DOES have tons...

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 at 11:27 am   This post has 23 responses.
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