Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Interesting news stories you might not have seen




In case you missed it a new garden magazine has arrived Garden and Gun. At first I thought it was a joke, but they seem to be serious. If you like pretty, glossy garden magazines that also have appropriate weaponry for unwanted garden critters, this magazine might be for you.

For those who aren’t paranoid enough, the garden insects are staking out claims on your plants and warning off other insects.

Aboveground, leaf-eating insects prefer plants that have not yet been occupied by subterranean root-eating insects. Subterranean insects emit chemical signals via the leaves of the plant, which warn the aboveground insects about their presence. This messaging enables spatially-separated insects to avoid each other, so that they do not unintentionally compete for the same plant. [read more Insects use plants like a telephone]

Wired Magazine had an interesting article on how various communities are dealing with water shortages. Peak Water: Aquifiers and Rivers are Running Dry. How Three Regions are Coping

And the Boston Globe has a story about dirt ‘The future of Dirt’. The story is about the search for better dirt. Soil is being lost at least 10 times faster than it is being replaced. We’ll have to make our own to continue feeding everyone. Before long you’ll be adding ‘biochar’ to your compost mix.

Finally A dash of salt grows healthier tomatoes

In the new study, Riccardo Izzo and colleagues grew cherry tomatoes in both freshwater and in a dilute solution of 12 percent seawater. They found that ripe tomatoes grown in the salty water showed higher levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, dihydrolipoic acid, and chlorogenic acid. All of these substances are antioxidants that appear to fight heart disease, cancer, aging, and other conditions.

This also has the advantage of allowing us to replace some freshwater irrigation with sea water reducing the stress on local water supplies.