- Author: Tina Saravia
Recently, I had the opportunity to go to Silicon Valley. While there, we visited Apple Park, the new headquarters for Apple, Inc. Naturally, I took pictures of their drought-tolerant landscaping on the way to Steve Jobs Theatre. They've got lots of grasses, shrubs, even a few redwood trees (not in the pictures) surrounding the office headquarters - a private campus. My husband fondly refers to it as the spaceship.
They also have an olive grove (Olea europaea) surrounding the Apple Store and Visitor Center. I'm guessing fruitless ones; otherwise, they would have to deal with fallen fruit and stains from fallen olives all the time; or get into the olive oil business, then they may have to change their name to Olive, Inc.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I had a great time. The staff was very friendly and helpful. But there was one question I forgot to ask: Where are the apples?
- Author: Lowell Cooper
I have just returned from a trip that included Angkor Wat in Cambodia. One of the most interesting things about ancient ruins is the state they are discovered in. This particular site is about 900 years old in a very hot location. The excavations seem both incomplete and ongoing and it is very conducive to natural growth. As hot as it is, I had the feeling that I should keep moving before I took root myself. It is very common to seem plants growing out of the crevices in and between stones. Because the environment is so friendly to plant-life, it seems like the structures have to be cleared regularly so they are not completely covered by various plants. In fact, the monuments are covered up and the process of discovery involved clearing the overgrowth.
As you can tell from the picture, the trees are enormous – and there are several different kinds of them. There seems to be some controversy about just what they are. One of the contenders at Ta Prohm, one of the temple sites at Angkor, is Tetrameles nudiflora – as pictured. But from what I can tell the dominant trees are not clearly identified. For those interested, I googled Ta Prohm and went for the fine print. I can't figure out why the tree names are so indefinite and I wasn't in Cambodia long enough to inquire on-site.
I have had the opportunity to see other amazing ruins on other trips, such as Petra and Machu Picchu, and they all have their own stories to tell. Even though they are made of large stone, people will have their way of working around the solidness and the gigantic amounts of labor it took to place the stones in the structures. Sometimes this involves moving them many miles from where they are mined. It is really amazing just what religious devotion can get people to create.
For me, Angkor Wat has the most intimate relationship between the temple structure and the natural environment. I realize that I am influenced by the recency of my visit because they all seem a bit miraculous. Not only is the building astounding, but the carvings are beautiful - filled with stories about the lives of the builders and frequently included painting; 900 years is too long to expect a paint job to last, especially exposed to the elements, so the basic color is stone gray. They are works of supreme devotion. Left unattended, nature makes its claim. It is not as if nature completely overcomes the structures, but as if they find a new kind of symbiosis that enhances the wonder of each. The temples and other structures give room for sharing the space while both are vulnerable to the effects of time. The structures deteriorate and the plant growth adds a different kind of life, embracing and amplifying the spirituality in both.
As you can tell, Angkor Wat seems transcendent and it wouldn't be the same without the trees and other plants growing along and within the stone. Not a bad place to spend a vacation.
- Author: Kathy Low
Last winter I bought a portable grow light on sale (for $10 with free shipping) to help with indoor seed germination during the winter. I was lucky that the light I bought was exactly what I needed and works great. But if you ever decided to shop online for plant grow lights, you undoubtedly were presented with a multitude of options, ranging from the type of bulb to the light spectrum produced. To determine the best grow light to meet your needs, you should be clear as to why you want a grow light (for example for seed germination, to provide additional light for houseplants, etc.). Next, you first need a basic understanding of the light needs of plants.
Basically, plants need light for three purposes, photosynthesis, phototropism, and photoperiodism. Photosynthesis is the process where plants convert sunlight to chemical energy. In phototropism, growth hormones are produced on the side of the stem causing the plant to lean towards the light so that the leaves are closer to intercepting the light. And photoperiodism involves how the plant reacts to different types of light. These reactions range from seed germination to breaking dormancy and even blooming.
Now let's talk about the light wavelength. Sunlight contains several different wavelengths or colors, like the colors seen in rainbows. Red and blue light spectrums are absorbed by plants and are essential in helping them grow. Red light is essential for seed germination, blossom, and fruit production. Blue light is essential for plant production of chlorophyll and producing strong leaves and stems.
Violet light is said to enhance the taste and aroma of plants. Yellow light is absorbed by the plants but doesn't promote growth as much as red and blue light. Green light is reflected back by the plants. Researchers have conducted numerous studies on the specific wavelengths and ratios needed for specific plants to grow, and in the case of vegetables, to produce best.
Grow lights range from incandescent and fluorescent to LED bulbs. Incandescent lights are a good source of red light, but a poor source of blue light. Because incandescent bulbs generate considerable heat, they need to be located at a distance from the plants, thereby reducing the light intensity. Fluorescent tube lights are available in types that emit particularly red and blue light. They generate little heat and have a life about ten times that of an incandescent light. LED lights produce little heat, are energy efficient and have a long life, but are more expensive than other lights. There are three basic types of LED bulb types for grow lights - bulged reflectors, tubular, and miniature. There are also high-intensity, or gas, discharge (HID) lights which are used primarily in greenhouses.
To learn more about the different types of grow lights, the light spectrum and intensity they produce, their efficiency, and determining the best type of grow light for your needs, see the following documents listed below.
Indoor Lighting for Plants. University of Vermont Extension. https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/articles/lighting.html
LED Grow Lights for Plant Production. Oklahoma State University Extension Service. April 2017. http://factsheets.okstate.edu/documents/hla-6450-led-grow-lights-for-plant-production/
Lighting Indoor Houseplants. University of Missouri Extension. Revised June 2016. https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6515
“Grow Lights for Indoor Plants and Indoor Gardening: An Overview.” Modern Farmer. March 2, 2018. https://modernfarmer.com/2018/03/grow-lights-for-indoor-plants-and-indoor-gardening/
“How to Talk to Your Plants: Using LEDs to grow better crops.” http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/how-to-talk-to-your-plants/
- Author: Maureen Clark
What's bugging you?
Group Hug ?!!!?
This true bug is about 1/2" inch long, somewhat flat, elongated oval, black with lateral red markings. The nymphs look similar and are typically red with black pronotum and wings. They do not sting, transmit diseases and seldom bite. When kill or crushed they do not emit a foul odor. They are often mistaken for the Boxelder bug.
They are not known to cause damage to plants or vegetables and are usually considered a beneficial insect. They eat fallen seeds, other dead bugs and leaking tree sap. Their fancy seeds from the Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculate). Using their beaks, nymphs and adults pierce the tough seed coats and probe the nutritious meat of the seed. Their digestive enzymes are pumped into the seed and break down the protein, fats and carbohydrates. Once liquified, these nutrients are sucked up their beak and into their gut, where it's converted into proteins. They can be seen year around in warm areas, such as California. They like to hang out in leaf piles, stacks of wood, rock piles and green plants.
They are known as the:
Red Shouldered / Soapberry / Golden Rain Tree Bug (Jadera haematoloma)
- Author: Jennifer Baumbach
The event has been postponed until the fall. It will be an outdoor event if the weather cooperates.
Thank you for your support. Stay safe, stay well.