Judging from this scene, it's probably not a good idea for us to introduce another cat to our household.

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 to sit on the roof of […]

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
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...

Read more in: Science Says
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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens
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...

Read more in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy, Science Says
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...

Read more in: Science Says
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,...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy
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...

Read more in: Guest Rants, Science Says
Posted by Phil Nauta on July 28, 2012 at 8:34 am   This post has 149 responses.


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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Ministry of Controversy, Uncategorized
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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
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...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on January 23, 2012 at 11:27 am   This post has 23 responses.

Garden products from the bad old days

I'm packing up to move, so it's time to decide which of these gardening products I'll be taking with me and which deserve to be sealed tightly at the bottom of a landfill somewhere.  In my defense, I bought most of these 15-25 years ago, before I knew enough...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Taking Your Gardening Dollar
Posted by on December 6, 2011 at 5:46 am   This post has 23 responses.

Golf course chooses toxic pesticide over the environment, neighbors, etc.

Deciding to use a long-banned pesticide, despite its proven harm to the environment and the ire of neighbors?  So stupid, but it's only thanks to one insider that there's a chance to convince the golf course not to do it. Here's an editorial in the Washington Post about the...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on October 1, 2011 at 11:51 am   This post has 7 responses.

Doug Tallamy disproves opposing myths about native plants

Doug Tallamy, everyone's favorite entomologist/native-plant advocate, is one of the contributors to a new book about sustainable gardening (edited by Tom Christopher, and to be reviewed here soon). First he makes the case that if you care about insects, the birds that feed on them and, heck, all of...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet
Posted by on August 16, 2011 at 4:39 am   This post has 13 responses.

Turf is top topic in my town’s parade

You've seen the partying spectators for my town's July 4th Parade.  Now for the turf- and gardening-related floats and people IN the parade. This group of reel-mowers have been at it for 15 or so years now, way ahead of the rest of the Lawn Reform movement.  I believe...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on July 19, 2011 at 8:06 am   This post has 7 responses.

A green roof with a view

I spotted this in Lake Placid last week. It's prominently placed on a building owned by the Golden Arrow hotel and there's a sign installed near the sidewalk that explains it to visitors. Keep in mind that it is relatively early in the season this far north, so the...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Real Gardens
Posted by on July 2, 2011 at 5:00 am   This post has 7 responses.

An Appalling Waste of Horticultural And Scientific Talent? You Betcha

Turf without management I hate to be shockable at 50–it's unseemly–but I was doing some research yesterday and was shocked to learn that Colorado State University has an entire degree program devoted to "turf management." This program is taught by actual Ph.D.s.  It leads to glorious management careers, the...

Read more in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 6, 2011 at 4:41 am   This post has 50 responses.
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