Tag Archive: Plant

Jan 16, 2014 by Sci-News.com

By using the same experimental framework normally applied to test learnt behavioral responses in animals, biologists from Australia and Italy have successfully demonstrated that Mimosa pudica – an exotic herb native to South America and Central America – can learn and remember just as well as it would be expected of animals.

Mimosa pudica at the Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany. Image credit: H. Zell / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Mimosa pudica at the Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany. Image credit: H. Zell / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Mimosa pudica is known as the Sensitive plant or a touch-me-not. Dr Monica Gagliano from the University of Western Australia and her colleagues designed their experiments as if Mimosa was indeed an animal.

They trained Mimosa‘s short- and long-term memories under both high and low-light environments by repeatedly dropping water on them using a custom-designed apparatus.

The scientists show how Mimosa plants stopped closing their leaves when they learnt that the repeated disturbance had no real damaging consequence.

The plants were able to acquire the learnt behavior in a matter of seconds and as in animals, learning was faster in less favorable environment.

Most remarkably, these plants were able to remember what had been learned for several weeks, even after environmental conditions had changed.

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Manage these vigorous self-seeders so you’ll never have to buy seeds again.

By Barbara Pleasant
August/September 2010

self-seeding crops
Letting crops flower and go to seed also supports beneficial insects!

One of the characteristics of a truly sustainable garden is that it produces at least some of its own seed. This is most often done when gardeners select, harvest and store seeds until the proper time for planting the following year. But some self-seeding crops produce seeds so readily that as long as you give them time to flower and mature, and set seed, you will always have free plants growing in your garden. You can simply let the seeds fall where they are, or toss pieces of the seed heads into the corners of your garden, or whichever area you want them in — no harvesting, storing or replanting required. With most self-seeding vegetables, herbs and annual flowers, you’ll just need to learn to recognize the seedlings so you don’t hoe them down. Should seedlings require relocation, you can simply lift and move them — after all, they are sturdy field-grown seedlings.

In addition to getting all the free garden plants you need (and some to share with family and friends), nurturing self-seeders is also a great way to provide a diversity of flowers that supply pollen and nectar for beneficial insects. Self-seeding flowers, herbs and vegetables that show up in early spring include arugula, calendula, chamomile, cilantro, dill, breadseed poppies and brilliant red orach (mountain spinach). Nasturtiums, amaranth, New Zealand spinach, and even basil or zinnias appear later, after the soil has warmed.

Starting a new colony of any of these annuals is usually a simple matter of lopping off armloads of brittle, seedbearing stems in the fall, and dumping them where you want the plants to appear the next season. It’s that easy. Most of the seedlings will appear in the first year after you let seed-bearing plants drop their seeds, with lower numbers popping up in subsequent seasons.

Working with reseeding, or self-sowing, crops saves time and trouble and often gives excellent results, but a few special techniques and precautions are in order. Some plants that self-sow too freely — especially perennials such as garlic chives or horseradish — will cross the line into weediness if not handled with care.

Spring Seeds for Fall Crops

The first group of plants to try as self-sown crops — both because they’re the easiest and they’ll be ready the same year — are those that tend to bolt in late spring. If allowed to bloom and set seed, dill, radishes, arugula, cilantro, broccoli raab, turnips and any kind of mustard will produce ripe seeds in time for fall reseeding in most climates. Lettuce will take a little longer, but often gives good results in Zone 5 or warmer.

One way to encourage self-seeders is to select vigorous plants from a larger planting, and let these plants grow unharvested until they bloom and produce seeds. This will work well enough, but it’s often bothersome to have one lone turnip holding up the renovation of a planting bed. To get around this problem, use a Noah’s ark approach: Set aside a bed or row and transplant pairs of plants being grown for seed into the ark bed. As the weeks pass, weed, water and stake up seed-bearing branches to keep them clean, but don’t pick from the “seed ark” bed.

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Health Benefits of Alfalfa Sprouts

By Juniper Russo
Alfalfa sprouts offer several health benefits.
Photo Credit healthy foods image by Steve Lovegrove from Fotolia.com

The sprouts, or young seedlings, of the alfalfa plant are associated with several potential health benefits. Although adult alfalfa plants are too coarse and bitter to eat, alfalfa sprouts are tender and appropriate for use in salads, sandwiches and soups. When used appropriately and in moderation, alfalfa sprouts can be a healthy component of a balanced diet. Consult your health care provider before eating alfalfa sprouts on an ongoing or excessive basis, particularly if you have a medical condition or take medication.

Dietary Fiber

According to NutritionData, a service of Self magazine, alfalfa sprouts are a good source of dietary fiber. Each 33-gram serving of alfalfa sprouts provides one gram of fiber, or three percent of an average adult’s necessary intake. For this reason, alfalfa sprouts may be a suitable food for people suffering from chronic constipation, diverticulitis or other digestive upsets.


Every serving of alfalfa sprouts provides 1 gram of plant-based protein, according to NutritionData. Unlike most other vegan protein sources, such as beans and peas, alfalfa sprouts are edible and palatable without any exposure to heat. Alfalfa sprouts are a good protein source for people eating raw and vegan diets.


Alfalfa sprouts are a good source of several micronutrients, or vitamins. NutritionData reports that alfalfa sprouts contain B vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, alfalfa sprouts provide roughly 13 percent of an adult’s recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Because of alfalfa’s high vitamin K content, the National Institutes of Health advise patients taking blood-thinners to avoid foods and supplements made from the plant.

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You can grow bigger, better cukes, beans, tomatoes and cantaloupes with simple, sturdy trellises

By Barbara Pleasant
December 2010/January 2011



Vertical Gardening Supports
Clockwise from top left: Rigid livestock panels do double duty as a fence and support for tomatoes, plus they can be bent to create an arched entry; saplings or bamboo poles are easy to use for pole bean tipis; pea tendrils love to cling to twiggy brush; and so-called “tomato” cages work better to support peppers and eggplants.


Whether your garden is large or small, you can make better use of every square inch by using vertical gardening techniques to grow upright crops. Pole beans typically produce twice as many beans as bush varieties, and the right trellis can double cucumber yields. Then there are crops, such as tomatoes, that need some type of support to keep them above damp ground, where diseases have a heyday. All properly supported plants are easier to pick from and monitor for pests, plus you’ll get help from bug-eating birds that use trellises as hunting perches.

How Plants Climb

Plants that benefit from garden trellises use a variety of methods to cling to support, including curling tendrils, twining stems or, in the case of tomatoes, long, ropy branches that form roots in places that touch the ground.

Curling tendrils produced by peas and cucumber-family crops will twist around whatever is available, so you have plenty of versatility when supporting these crops. Tendrils cling to horizontal and vertical parts of a trellis, so netting woven from biodegradable string attached to posts often works well. Twining stems spiral around their support, growing steadily upward until they turn back on themselves — a growth habit seen in hops, pole beans, Malabar spinach and yard long beans.

Twining stems have little use for horizontal lines, so they do best with trellises composed mostly of poles or an upright fence. (See illustration in the Image Gallery.)

Tomatoes like to throw themselves over their support. They must be trained and tied to an upright trellis, which isn’t as easy as growing them in wire cages. The larger, more robust the tomato plant, the more you need a sturdy tomato cage that provides support on all sides.

Temporary or Permanent?

In my experience, a truly sturdy upright garden trellis must be anchored by T-stakes or vertical 4-by-4 posts (or 3-inch-diameter saplings from the woods), sunk 18 inches deep. Installing this semi-permanent garden structure takes time and muscle. In my garden, the most versatile trellises are about 8 feet wide, stand 4 to 5 feet high, and are made of woven wire fencing or a livestock panel attached to two posts. Allowing 4 inches of clearance between the bottom of the fencing and the ground makes the area easier to weed and cultivate. The advantages of such a trellis are the ready availability of the structure each spring and the option to make an attractive permanent feature in the garden.

The drawback of this or any other long-lasting vertical gardening supports (like an existing fence) is that it limits rotations to peas, beans, tomatoes and cucumber-family crops. Temporary trellises, such as bamboo tipis, give you more flexibility in terms of what you plant where, but they need to be taken down and stored in a dry place through winter to keep them from rotting. If you gather trellis parts and bind them together with string or strips of cloth in the fall and store them over the winter, they will go up quickly the following season.


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Campbell Ferrara Campbell Ferrara

Uploaded on May 31, 2011

Campbell & Ferrara plant expert Dodi Turney will help you learn how to choose and combine the best plants for your container garden. Planted containers create an instant garden and are the ultimate fashion statement in modern urban gardening.


Patio Vegetable Gardening

VirginiaFarmBureau VirginiaFarmBureau

Uploaded on Jan 6, 2011

Everyone can have a vegetable garden in the summer, even folks with just a few feet of patio space. Mark Viette explains how.


Balcony Gardening

VeggieVillage VeggieVillage

Uploaded on Jan 31, 2010

Yukari demonstrates how to make a balcony garden using permacultuure principals.


Published on Apr 27, 2013

John http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ gives you a tour of his front yard garden and talks about weedy vegetables or plants that will re-seed themselves in your garden so you don’t have to replant them. In this episode John will share with you about a dozen crops that have dropped seed and come up on their own in his garden. By growing weedy vegetables it will reduce the amount of work so you can be eating more out of your organic garden and less out of the grocery store.

Survivor of Texas fertilizer plant explosion recalls horror; cause of blast remains unknown (GRAPHIC IMAGE)

Misty Lambert, a mom of five, said she was watching the plant engulfed in flames April 17 when she was hit by the blast. She suffered wounds across her body and required 1,000 stitches.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 9:55 AM

Misty Lambert, 37, was injured in the West Fertilizer Co. plant explosion near Waco, Texas. She lived in the apartment complex that sits directly behind the plant.

A powerful blast at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant left survivor Misty Lambert with 1,000 stitches across her body. But one thing it couldn’t damage was her fighting spirit.

While the 37-year-old mom underwent 20 hours of surgery following last Wednesday’s explosion — the worst U.S. industrial disaster in three years — her outlook remains hopeful.

“It’s another bump in the road for me,” Lambert told ABC affiliate KVUE-TV. “I’m saddened by the fact that people lost their lives, but I’m grateful that I still have my life.”

The blast at the West Fertilizer Co. near Waco killed at least 14 people, injured more than 200 and flattened the surrounding residential area into rubble and ash.

Emergency crews worked frantically to sift through ruins for survivors. Six firefighters and four emergency medics are among the dead.


Misty Lambert, 37, suffered cuts to her face, chest and arms when a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded and the blast blew in windows and flattened homes in the area, including hers.


Misty Lambert, 37, suffered cuts to her face, chest and arms when a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded and the blast blew in windows and flattened homes in the area, including hers.

Nearly 70 federal and state investigators are still trying to determine what caused the inferno that set off the explosion, said assistant state fire marshal Kelly Kistner. Authorities say there are no signs of criminal intent.

Victims are left to relive the terrifying moment in their minds.

Read Full Article Here


Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 11:36 AM PDT

Cable news and Rick Perry sweep Texas fertilizer plant’s poor regulatory record under the rug

by Laura ClawsonFollow for Daily Kos Labor

The remains of a fertilizer plant burn after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas early April 18, 2013. The deadly explosion ripped through the fertilizer plant late on Wednesday, injuring more than 100 people, leveling dozens o

If you’ve been reading reporting on the fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 in West, Texas, late last week, you know about safety and environmental compliance problems at the plant, going back decades. If you’re relying on cable news as a source of information, you probably don’t know quite as much. West Fertilizer Co. had not followed disclosure rules about the massive amount of ammonium nitrate it had been storing over the past year, but cable news isn’t reporting on that:

A Media Matters study found that following the Reuters report, CNN’s coverage of the explosion never mentioned that West Fertilizer violated federal regulations by failing to disclose their storage of 270 tons of ammonium nitrate, and MSNBC and Fox News rarely mentioned the violation.Between 8:38 am on April 20, when Reuters’ story was published, and 9:00 am on April 23, CNN featured 24 segments on the story, many of which mentioned that ammonium nitrate was stored at the plant, but failed to note the DHS reporting violation.

MSNBC featured 16 segments on the story in that time frame, 15 of which did not mention Reuters’ report; in one segment on April 21, NBC’s Charles Hadlock noted that the plant had “several tons of ammonium nitrate” but then wondered out loud, “What is the limit of the amount of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that one company can store without notifying federal authorities? That’s an unknown question right now.” However, on his April 22 show, host Chris Hayes devoted several minutes to covering the Reuters report and concluded, “If the Department of Homeland Security didn’t know about the West Fertilizer plant, what other plants does it not know about?”

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West Fertilizer Co. had spotty regulatory history, records show

West Fertilizer Co. explosion

The West, Texas, fertilizer facility where an explosion occurred Wednesday had several regulatory violations, records show. Above, mangled metal and crushed vehicles at West Fertilizer Co. (Paul Moseley / Associated Press / April 18, 2013)

The West, Texas, fertilizer plant destroyed by a massive explosion has paid nearly $8,000 to at least two regulatory agencies for safety and transportation violations, records show.

West Fertilizer Co. paid $5,250 last year to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration over violations discovered in 2011, according to records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

A federal inspector found three violations at the fertilizer facility that included transporting anhydrous ammonia without a security plan and carrying it in tanks that were improperly labeled, records show.

PHOTOS: Fertilizer plant explodes in West, Texas

The agency fined the company $10,100 – reducing the fine by $1,400 for corrective actions taken by the fertilizer facility’s manager. In the end, the company paid the $5,250 after taking further corrective actions.

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West Fertilizer Co. fined in 2006 by EPA

West explosion

Credit: WFAA

Fire burns unchecked at a residence near the site of a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas on April 17, 2013.



Posted on April 18, 2013 at 3:05 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 10:14 AM

The fertilizer plant that exploded in West, Texas on Wednesday night was fined by the Environmental Protection agency in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan that met federal standards, an EPA report shows.

The $2,300 penalty was issued on August 14, 2006, records show. According to the EPA, a risk management plan is designed to ensure chemical accidents don’t happen by having safeguards in place to prevent them.

Quoting from its website, a risk management plan “includes an executive summary, registration information, off-site consequence analysis, five-year accident history, prevention program and emergency response program.”

The plant was not fined again by the EPA after that incident.

According to construction permits submitted in November of that year, West Fertilizer Co. vowed to meet all standards expected for anhydrous ammonia storage tanks. The odorless gas would be stored in two 12,000 gallon permanent storage tanks.

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Fukushima fuel cooling system stops again:TEPCO

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) April 5, 2013

Radioactive water may have leaked from Fukushima: TEPCO
Tokyo (AFP) April 6, 2013 – Radioactive water may have leaked into the ground from a tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said Saturday, the latest in a series of troubles at the crippled facility.Up to 120 tonnes of contaminated water may have escaped from one of the seven underground reservoir tanks at the tsunami-damaged plant, according to a Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) spokesman.

The tank stores water used to cool down the reactors after radioactive caesium is removed but other radioactive substances remain.

“We are transferring the remaining water from the tank to others,” the TEPCO spokesman said, adding that the company believes the contaminated water was unlikely to flow into the sea.

The leakage came after one of the systems keeping spent atomic fuel cool at the plant temporarily failed on Friday, the second outage in a matter of weeks, underlining the precarious fix at the plant.

Nuclear fuel, even after use, has to be kept cool to prevent it from overheating and beginning a self-sustaining atomic reaction that could lead to meltdown.

The plant was hit by the giant tsunami of March 2011 as reactors went into meltdown and spewed radiation over a wide area, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes and polluting farmland.


One of the systems keeping spent atomic fuel cool at the Fukushima nuclear plant temporarily failed on Friday, the second outage in a matter of weeks, underlining the precarious fix at the plant.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said an alarm sounded at the facility at 2:27 pm (0527 GMT), and technicians soon confirmed that the cooling system for the pool attached to reactor 3 was not working.

Nuclear fuel, even after use, has to be kept cool to prevent it from overheating and beginning a self-sustaining atomic reaction that could lead to meltdown.

The problem, which was fixed in about three hours, occurred as work crew placed a metal mesh around a switchboard in a bid to prevent small animals from touching it, a TEPCO spokesman told a press conference.

The measures were taken after a rat got inside the switchboard last month, causing a short-circuit that knocked out power for sections of the crippled plant and stopped cooling systems for four storage pools.

That time, it took nearly 30 hours for TEPCO to fully fix the problem.

The TEPCO spokesman said a wire or the mesh might have touched the ground while crews put the mesh in place, unintentionally grounding the equipment and knocking it offline.

TEPCO apologised for the problem, but stressed that it had not posed any immediate danger.

However, the incident served as a reminder of the precarious state of the Fukushima plant, more than two years after it was hit by the giant tsunami of March 2011, and critics were quick to jump on the fault.


Read Full Article Here



Tepco Says Fukushima Plant Leaked 120 Tons of Radioactive Water

By Tsuyoshi Inajima – Apr 6, 2013 9:30 PM CT

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) said thousands of gallons of highly radioactive water has leaked from an underground pool at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant and may have seeped into the soil.

Tepco estimates about 120 tons (32,280 gallons) of radioactive water has escaped, company spokesman Daisuke Hirose said, adding it was uncertain how much contaminated water has soaked into the soil. While he said the utility plans to complete pumping the remaining water to other underground pools by April 9, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority today said “a small quantity” of radioactive water may be leaking from another tank.

The leak is the latest stumble in efforts to stabilize the plant after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused the worst nuclear crisis in 25 years. Tepco continues to inject water into the damaged reactors to cool them, and the leaked water contains about 710 billion becquerels of radiation, the most since the facility reached a stable state known as cold shutdown in December 2011, Hirose said.


Read Full Article Here

March 1, 2013


Waking Times 

It’a an idea whose time has come, as many people are re-discovering the importance of gardening and the importance of heirloom, non-GMO seed.

NPR recently reported on an interesting new phenomenon of heirloom seeds being checked out like books through public libraries.

The program which has expanded to over 12 public libraries works something like this:

  • Local gardeners save seeds from their most successful plants and donate them to the library.
  • Library members can then ‘check out’ the seeds to plant in their gardens on the promise to then save seeds from the best plants and return them to the library.

It’s an innovative way to build a public seed bank of heirloom seeds for plants that have proven their veracity in local climates and soil.  It’s also a way for public libraries to stay relevant in an age when ebooks and Amazon are denting their necessity.

Uploaded on Nov 13, 2011

The Guerrilla Grafters are a group of San Franciscans who believe urban trees are a precious thing to waste on simple flowers. Their goal is to graft- albeit illegally- fruit bearing branches onto non-fruit bearing fruit trees, in hopes that over time the cities ornamental trees can provide food for residents free of charge.

In this video, we follow Guerrilla Grafters Tara Hui and Booka Alon as they check up on their surreptitious grafts, perform a bit of pruning and search for their trees’ first fruit.
Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/…