Australia’s biosecurity officials have a big job. They stop plants and animals from entering the country—species that could disrupt its delicately balanced ecosystem. But in their quest to protect Australia, they’ve accidentally destroyed some important biological specimens bound for local researchers. Back in March, for example, biosecurity officials incinerated a plant specimen because of a paperwork mix-up.
The destroyed item was the type specimen for a flowering plant (the exact species hasn’t been released), which means it was the specimen that was used to describe the species officially. The plant had been collected in the mid-1800s and ended…
Audrey II was taken from the little shop and locked away in Seymour’s apartment for obvious reasons, and even though he cared for the plant like she was his own he knew she would never be able to live outside his apartment. So Seymour introduced Audrey II to television, so her mind could wander all day while he was at work, and boy did Audrey II’s mind wander! The plant adored watching cooking shows, imagining what each recipe would taste like if the main…
We’ve seen animals and plants, plants and fungi, animals and bacteria, all with symbiotic relationships that benefit both species. Some combinations even take that relationship to the cellular level. But now scientists have identified algae living in salamander cells through the life of the animal, which is the first time a photosynthetic plant has been found in the cells of a vertebrate.
As a collaborative research team from the American Museum of Natural History and Gettysburg College revealed, the green alga Oophila amblystomatis makes its home inside of cells located across…
An Indian man sits under the cascading water of a fountain in a decorative shallow pool adorning the gardens surrounding the India Gate monument on a hot Indian summer afternoon in New Delhi on May 20, 2016. (Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
India is poised for an explosion in room air conditioning that may require as many as 300 new electric power plants in the next 10 to 15 years, according to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory specialist in international energy.
The country is likewise poised to avoid the costs of such an explosion—including billions of tons of carbon pollution—by deploying new air conditioners that are super efficient, that use refrigerants friendly to the climate, and that are powered by renewable energy, said Nikit Abhyankar, a senior scientific engineering associate at LBL.
“All the cities are very hot and very populous, which means that going forward, as people get richer, the demand for room air conditioning is going to be increasing,” said Abhyankar said in an April seminar hosted by the Stanford Precourt Institute of Energy. Stanford released video of the seminar Friday.
“ACs are the first appliance people want to buy when they cross a certain income threshold.”
Millions of Indians are expected to cross that threshold in the next 10-15 years, so analysts expect demand foer room air-conditioner demand akin to the surge in China around the turn of the millennium. Urban Chinese purchased 200 million room air conditioners in 15 years, creating—with just one appliance—300 GW of electric demand, the equivalent of six Californias.
In India, air conditioning is expected to double the country’s electricity demand in 15 years, requiring 200-300 new electric plants for…
Gardening is more than a hobby. The act of cultivating veggies for your dinner table and flowers for your lawn has numerous health benefits. Research has indicated that regular gardeners are less likely to suffer from heart attacks or come down with Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, spending time with your backyard crops is an excellent way to relieve stress. Now that spring has sprung, why not get your hands dirty? If you’re new to the game, here are 10 tough plants that you won’t need a green thumb to take care of.
These hardy flowers are tough to kill—in most areas of the United States, pansies are resilient enough to survive winter temperatures. More than 300 varieties of pansies exist, including several that have been specifically bred for really hot or really cold environments.
The ideal time to plant pansies is when the soil temperature is around 50 to 60 degrees (August for the northern parts of the country to October in the southern), but you can also set yours out in the early spring. Fully-grown plants can be purchased at most gardening stores and deposited directly into the ground. If you plan on growing some from seeds, deposit each one in moist soil spaced 7 to 12 inches apart. In colder states, pansies do best in direct sunlight, but if you live in a warm state like Georgia or Texas, give the flowers some shade and strategically plant them so that they can spend three to four hours in the shadows per day and see that they get an inch of water each week.
According to the National Gardening Association, nearly nine out of 10 American household vegetable gardens have at least one tomato plant. Germinating tomato plants need a constant soil temperature of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and seeds should be planted six to eight weeks before your area’s projected last frost date. Given these requirements, you’ll most likely have to start indoors (or buy tomato plants from your local garden center).
First, you’ll need one container for every two seeds. (While it’s possible to raise all of the seeds in the same pot, this makes the young plants harder to remove when the time comes to transplant them.) Plastic or Styrofoam cups work well; make a couple small holes in the bottom of each one for drainage and fill it with a good potting mix. Then, place the seeds about a quarter of an inch beneath the surface. Mist the dirt with water (make it moist, but not soggy) and maintain a constant 70 to 80-degree room temperature, and within 10 days, the little plants will sprout. They’ll need plenty of sunlight; if possible, put the plants by a south-facing window or, in windowless homes, use artificial grow lights.
As soon as the plants sprout four leaves apiece, move them into bigger containers; pots with a height of 4 to 6 inches will be perfect. Meanwhile, find a nice, sunny section of your garden outside. One week before the last frost date, till the soil until it’s nice and loose. Then, dig a trench about 6 or 8 inches deep. After the last frost date finally arrives and the dirt has warmed, throw in 3 inches of compost. Cover that with some extra soil and then transplant your seedlings there.
Like pansies, tomatoes come in many varieties which offer fruits of every shape and size. Depending on what kind you’re growing, you’ll want to arrange the young plants anywhere from 12 to 48 inches apart. Consult the seed package or a neighborhood gardening store for an exact number. By the way, novice gardeners may want to choose varieties that yield smaller fruits (like cherry tomatoes). If left to their own devices, medium or large fruits may rot prematurely. Preventing this will require tethering your plants to stakes or cages for support. That’s not too difficult, but it is an extra step.
Tomatoes and basil make for a great combination in spaghetti sauces, and in your garden, the two plants may help each other grow. According to many amateur and professional gardeners, basil serves as a natural bug repellent that drives off unwanted insects that might otherwise eat the herb—or munch on your tomato fruits; some speculate is that planting the two near each other somehow gives the tomatoes a…
From cactus to aloe, drought-resistant succulents come in an amazing variety of shapes and colors. This variety, and the fact that they’re easy to care for, make succulents the perfect plants for everything from a tiny planter on the counter to a lavish outdoor display—and all the creative displays featured below.
1. IN SHELLS
Megan Andersen-Read stuffed snail shells with cuttings of various small succulents that had begun to root, and then added just enough potting soil around those roots. She had enough shells that she was able to put some of these gardens around the house and more outside as accents for her larger garden.
2. IN A BOOK
It’s hard to throw out obsolete books, but it may be easier to turn them into something pretty, like a miniature garden. Instructables member loveisinmytummy found this project to be easier than it looks. You hollow out the pages and build the garden of your dreams in tiny form. The accessories are optional; use your imagination to create the literary world you want.
We expect fresh greenery on a Christmas wreath, but a wreath of live flourishing succulents is a lovely celebration of warm weather. Stephanie at Garden Therapy shows you step-by-step how to make your own succulent wreath, whether fully planted like the one shown here, or partially-covered. She also teaches you how to care for it, and how to refresh your wreath when the plants begin to show their age.
4. IN A BALL
To freshen up a space that’s too small for a wreath, how about a simple succulent ball? Instructables member marcellahella will help you create a little garden ornament that can go anywhere, and even move around to take advantage of different light and temperature conditions.
When astronauts finally make it to Mars, they’ll need something to eat. And while NASA is working on shelf-stable rations for those eventual missions, astronauts will ideally be able to grow their own plants while exploring other worlds. That’s where the University of Arizona’s inflatable greenhouse comes in, designboom reports.
The University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center is helping the space agency develop a closed-loop system that can provide astronauts with food, clean the air, and recycle waste and water in alien environments. This “bioregenerative life support system” uses plants and LEDs to recreate what’s essentially a miniature Earth environment, according to designboom.
The Lunar Greenhouse prototype is an 18-foot-long, 7-foot-wide cylinder that is designed to take the carbon dioxide that astronauts breathe out and turn it into oxygen through plant photosynthesis. Astronauts would introduce…
Having plants in your home is great for purifying the air and lifting your general mood. But it’s not enough to just buy a plant—you also have find the right home for it. Your new leafy friend needs something better than the plastic pot you bought it in; here are 11 fancy options to start with.
These porcelain conch shells will give your home a tropical feel—a nice touch when the colder months roll around.
Want fresh herbs at arm’s length in the kitchen but too lazy to start gardening? This little gadget grows three herbs, with an outlet and the click of a button, in just a few weeks. Once you’re finished with your plants, you can pop in new cartridges and start the cycle over again.
The active ingredient in catnip that gives such pleasure to our kitties is nepetalactone. It doesn’t have much effect on other species, but cats go wild -or at least some cats do. If you’ve had multiple cats, you’ve probably noticed at least one that didn’t react to catnip at all. You have to feel sorry for those cats, while their housemates are enjoying a catnip-fueled high. However, there are some other substances, such as silver vine, Tatarian honeysuckle, and valerian root, that can stimulate cats. Molecular biologist Sebastian Bol performed an experiment to see how cats would…
As the planet warms, carbon stashed in Earth’s soils could escape into the atmosphere far faster than previously thought. In the worst-case scenario for climate change, carbon dioxide emissions from soil-dwelling microbes could increase by 34 to 37 percent by 2100, researchers report online March 9 in Science. Previous studies predicted a more modest 9 to 12 percent rise if no efforts are taken to curb climate change. Those extra emissions could further intensify global warming.
Much of that extra CO2 will originate from soils at depths overlooked by previous measurements, says study coauthor Margaret Torn, a biogeochemist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. “We ignore the deep at our peril,” she says.
Soils cover about two-thirds of Earth’s ice-free land area and store nearly 3 trillion metric tons of organic carbon — more than three times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Dead organisms such as plants contribute to this carbon stockpile, and carbon-munching microbes belch some of that carbon into the atmosphere as CO2. Rising temperatures will spur the microbes to speed up their plant consumption, scientists warn, releasing more CO2 into…