Selecting Healthy Plants: What to Look For at the Garden Center

plants at the garden center

By Erin Marissa Russell

When you’re admiring the rows of plants at your local nursery or garden center, take the time to consider your choices carefully. Call on your gardening know-how as well as the tips for selecting healthy plants you’ll find in this article, because which flower, baby vegetable, sapling, or herb you choose has a lot to do with the long term health of your garden. However, your selection won’t only determine how well that individual plant will thrive. 

In the greenhouses where nursery and garden center plants are raised, diseases and insects can spread like wildfire. The symptoms of a plant disease, as well as the insects that could hitch a ride home with you, may be as tiny as the period at the end of this sentence. Introducing a diseased or pest-infested plant into your garden could cause an outbreak that takes months to conquer—and in the process, the threat could even kill off some of your collection. 

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Debunked: Despite NASA Clean Air Study Claims, Houseplants Don’t Effectively Purify Air

Do houseplants really purify the air?

By Erin Marissa Russell

As someone who loves plants and is enthusiastic about gardening, you’ve probably heard people say that houseplants promote a healthy environment by cleaning the air, reducing toxins and pollutants. In fact, if you’ve heard the claim once, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times. We’ve even covered it in the past! Despite how frequently people proclaim that plants clean the air, the reality is this statement just isn’t quite true—at least, not to the extent that we previously thought. (To be honest, you’d be better off simply opening a window to purify the air in your home.)

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Plant Stress and Response: An Explanation

By Erin Marissa Russell

What Plant Stress Is Like

You may be surprised to learn just how similar plant behavior in the face of stress can be to our own human backlash against stress, according to visual symptoms and other the reactions we are able to detect. Parts of the stress response in plants seem downright human, though unlike in humans, the fight or flight response is not an option for plants because whereas we can escape, they are quite literally rooted to the spot.

Just like our bodies release hormones when we endure stress, plants also also have a hormonal response to stressful conditions. However, hormonal reactions to stress in plants are specifically crafted to counterbalance the exact form of stress the plant is experiencing. For example, a plant going through drought responds by sending abscisic acid to its root system. The abscisic acid works to close little openings in the root system called stomata that are used during photosynthesis—water is lost through these passages, so closing them during a drought helps the plant retain its precious water stores. 

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Growing Lettuce | Home Gardener’s Guide

lettuce growing in a vegetable garden

By Erin Marissa Russell

Lettuce is one of humanity’s oldest foods and a popular addition to the vegetable garden for beginners and expert gardeners alike. This standard of the veggie patch is so popular because it’s a low maintenance crop that usually doesn’t struggle with diseases or infestation by garden pests. Lettuce also has the benefit of being a natural space saver, producing a sizable harvest in exchange for quite a small investment of garden square footage. With so many different varieties of lettuce available, there’s one to suit every taste and every climate. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to choose lettuce varieties for your garden, plant them, and nourish them to maturity. Our section on companion planting will guide you in selecting plants to grow alongside your lettuce and warn you against plant partnerships that will drag one another down instead of building one another up. We’ll also discuss troubleshooting in case your lettuce plants do happen to face a plant disease or insect problem as well as how to harvest and store your crop. First things first—here’s a rundown of the essentials of lettuce cultivation.

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Understanding Plant Hardiness and Cold Stress

By Erin Marissa Russell

It’s likely that cold damage can be so catastrophic for plants because of the wildly transformative effect cold stress has on a plant’s cells. The plant’s vital metabolism is disrupted and the system must adapt, with some processes making a speedy recovery while others take longer to heal. Each cell experiences upheaval within its interior and in every molecule that the cell contains.

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Push Reel Mower Buyer’s Guide

So, you’re thinking about trying a push reel lawn mower. It’s a great idea! Really, you should try it. Here’s why: Consider a push reel mower if you’re sick of the noise, the smoke and the extra maintenance hassles of keeping a gasoline-powered mower running. Or, maybe you are interested in a more environmentally friendly … Read more

Ultimate Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens

backyard chickens

Ready to get started raising chickens in the city, and call yourself an urban chicken farmer? Here’s what you need to know to get started with your own flock of backyard chickens. Make sure you read through the whole guide, we’ve thrown in a lot of raising chicken tips. These tips include specifics on what … Read more

Maggots in your compost?

So you open up your compost bin and you see some maggots crawling around down there. Gross! But is this a good thing, or a bad thing?  Turns out that maggots in compost is a good thing.  When you’re adding a lot of nitrogen rich materials to your compost bin like coffee grounds and vegetable … Read more