Cotton Seeds Spring to Life on the Far Side of the Moon

Cotton seeds carried by China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander have germinated on the far side of the moon, becoming the first plant shoots to grow there in what mission chiefs said was laying the foundation for a base on Earth’s only natural satellite.

A photo released on Tuesday by the China National Space Administration showed cotton shoots were growing well along with other germinated plants.

When Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon on January 3, its cargo included an airtight container which carried bioscience test loads, including one called a “moon surface micro-ecological circle”. … more

The Plants are listening, and they are talking back

When people pose the old question about whether a tree falling in an empty forest makes a sound, they presuppose that none of the other plants in the forest are listening in. Plants, supposedly, are silent and unhearing. They don’t make noises, unless rustled or bitten. When Rachel Carson described a spring bereft of birds, she called it silent.

But these stereotypes may not be true. According to a blossoming batch of studies, it’s not that plants have no acoustic lives. It’s more that, until now, we’ve been blissfully unaware of them….. read more at the Atlantic

Flowers respond to pollinator sound within minutes by increasing nectar sugar concentration

The sounds of plants – Plants emit remotely-detectable ultrasounds that can reveal plant stress

Mythbusters, Talking to Plants

Bracidostele (bcd) orchids

Bcd Guilded Tower ‘mystic maze’

This orchid does very well in low light. It’s in a second floor, north facing window with some shade from the trees. It blooms in Jan. A few cold nights on the windowsill get it going.

Ours is planted semi-hydro.

Windowsill temperatures range from ~45’F-90’F

We found this at the Houston Orchid Show in 2018. Like most cultivars there is little information and most of it is contradictory. I’m going with the Smithsonian version. It’s a cultivar between Brassostele Summit X and Brassidium Gilded Urchin

Annual National Garden Survey has been released

The annual National Gardening Survey finds the proportion of older gardeners is holding steady (35%) but younger households reached an all-time high in gardening participation. “From small beginnings with a succulent here and a houseplant there, the under 35s are now truly engaged in the full range of gardening activities.” says industry analyst Ian Baldwin, who participated in the survey.

Overall, American gardeners reported spending a record $47.8 billion on lawn and garden retail sales, the highest ever, with a record average household spend of $503 – up nearly $100 over the previous year.

Container gardening and landscaping set new highs in gardening sales, too. “More and more consumers are choosing not to dig holes in their leisure times. If they have the finances, they are investing in raised beds,” says Baldwin.

Indoor gardening is also making a big comeback with 30% of all households buying at least one houseplant. Baldwin says it harkens back to the ‘70’s and ‘80s, “when no home was complete without various sizes and shapes of non-flowering plants in pots or macramé hangers acting as cheap room dividers.”

Power Point Summary
Full Survey

Urban Harvest Fruit and Nut Tree Sale Feb 9, 2019

19th Annual Fruit Tree Sale

Saturday, Feb. 9 | 9am-1pm
Sawyer Yards | 2101 Winter Street

The largest single-day fruit tree sale in the country featuring over 100 varieties of fruit trees that are suited to the climate and soils of the greater Houston area.

NOTE: Citrus may only be transported to Harris, Montgomery & Fort Bend Counties. Many varieties of citrus will be available at our 2019 Fruit Tree Sale. Maintaining healthy trees will protect your citrus from greening.

Elowan: A plant robot hybrid

Plants working as light sensors is exactly what Elowan was designed to convey—Deep integration of technology with our nature. One small capability such as response of plants to light shows how plants could be harnessed for our physical devices or interaction purposes.

This leads to applications such as sensing a surrounding environment through a plant or tree signals or routing those signals through our interactive devices. The plants could be used as sensing platforms for monitoring their own health, minute changes in the environment or to give rise to new organic interactive devices.

I think such a process of hybridizing with nature leads us to think about how we design our future devices. The way we have seen environment and sustainability efforts have been much more passive and always about saving while we are the back foot, but if we start looking at capabilities in the environment, we align ourselves with the development, as opposed to being divergent from it. I called this new type of interaction design as convergent design.

Elowan