After a long drought, I’m so pleased to finally have some of my fiction work published. Breathing Space’s history is a good illustration of the slow, frustrating process fiction writers experience when plying their craft. I completed the first draft … Continue reading Breathing Space
Most plants are nitrogen junkies. Without a regular supply of this element from the soil they can’t grow, and farmers spread regular applications of artificial fertliser to supply their need. Unfortunately, overapplication of fertiliser can have negative environmental effects, such … Continue reading Plants Getting Their Fix
In former times, farmers used to rotate their crops, so that a field would have different crops grown in it each year over three of four years until the cycle started again. Often, in mixed farms, one year’s ‘crop’ would be the livestock allowed to feed on the field, resting the soil and replenishing it with their manure. The rationale for this was that different plants used different nutrients and attracted different pests and diseases. By moving the crops around, farmers could avoid depleting the soil of key nutrients and prevent the build-up of parasites. Then modern farming vastly reduced … Continue reading Farming – Return to the Past?
Plant life, the poor, neglected second cousin of living things, may not be as limitless as was once thought. While we agonize over the number of animals becoming extinct, we tend to take plants for granted. If we need more, we just plant more, right? The journal Science reported on Thursday that there may in fact be an upper boundary to potential plant life our planet will support, and that we may have reached it. Researchers at the University of Montana, led by Dr. Steven Running, studied satellite images dating back to 1982, and found that the total plant growth had … Continue reading Is it the End of the Field for Plants?