Nancy Wiersma: Monarchs missing in Mexico and 19-foot carrotsPublished 11:09pm Wednesday, October 6, 2010
While reading, grazing and a cropping I go, hoarding bits of information for future columns.
And now, once again, I find it’s time to pull together and share a few of these curiously fascinating morsels about gardening.
Did you know this?:
• According to Garden Gate, are you noticing few monarch butterflies in your garden this year?
Record rainfall in January and February caused major landslides and flooding in Mexico, where these butterflies winter.
The results have been devastating.
Initial reports show that about 50 percent of the monarch population there died.
In some areas, the mortality rate was as high as 70 percent.
• Dr. Clarence Ryan at Washington State University has found in a few of his studies that by simply pinching off, bruising or wounding the tomato plant’s leaves, this activates a hormone that causes insects attacking the plant to die of severe indigestion!
Now, this is exactly what I was talking about in my last column, brushing by a plant, signaling them to bugle their “stinky” defense signals.
• In 1937, a soil scientist found that a single rye plant, growing in a cubic foot of soil, had grown 385 miles of roots and 6,600 miles of root hairs — in only four months.
• Best of the best in hostas, the American Hosta Society chose Sagae to receive the Benedict Garden Performance Medal.
• According to the World Carrot Museum (yes, there really is such a place), the longest carrot ever grown was 19 feet, 1.96 inches long.
And the heaviest carrot was just under 19 pounds.
My goodness, how words they do pass.
I think I need to close this column down for this week.
And perhaps carry on in the next? I do have more on blue jays, oaks, butterflies, moths and squirrels. So, ’til next we meet, dear gardening friends.
Obvious though our dependence upon plants may be, we have, it seems, taken it for granted that they will continue to exist in all their variety no matter how we treat them and the land on which they grow.
— David Attenborough