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. 

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

199 Different Things You Can Compost

Don’t throw it away — compost it! If you’ve ever wondered what kind of things you can compost, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled a room-by-room list of more than 200 compostable items. While we understand some of these items are best left to individual preference and might not be right for your compost pile or … Read more

Trees and Your Environment

We’re proud of the thousands of trees we have been responsible for planning through donations to Trees for the Future . Here’s a look at why we think that trees are important at Clean Air Gardening, and why we’ll continue planting more of them. Planting trees in your neighborhood really is one of the best … Read more

5 Tips for Improving Your Raised Bed Garden Soil

Wondering how often, or even better yet, how do you improve the soil in raised beds? You are officially convinced on the benefits of raised garden beds and maybe you’ve been gardening in raised beds for years. Whether you are new to raised bed gardening or you’re a raised bed gardening pro, we’ve got some … Read more

How to get rid of Crazy Ants

Photo courtesy of hanmei at Crazy Rasberry ants are an invasive insect that’s spreading across the United States. They are largely confined to the Gulf Coast, with extensive colonies in Florida, but have also been found in Houston, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City. The University of Nebraska has an excellent guide for … Read more