Garden Talk: July 29, 2010
From NGA Editors
Plant Compounds that Fight Cancer
We all know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for our health. But research being conducted at the USDA Agricultural Research Service's Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California is providing intriguing new clues about the ways compounds in these foods help to ward off cancer and other diseases.
For example, a study done by molecular biologist Susan Zunino demonstrated that three compounds occurring naturally in strawberries cause death or damage to certain kinds of leukemia cells grown in culture. Scientists now know that unwanted inflammation can contribute to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. Research done by Daniel Hwang and his colleagues has increased understanding of the ways in which compounds found in plants such as celery, thyme, green peppers, citrus fruits and the fruit of the blue passion-flower work to inhibit the expression of genes that otherwise might cause the production of products that trigger inflammation. The compound luteolin, found in vegetables such as celery and green peppers, was determined to be the most effective inhibitor of an enzyme that, if unimpeded, leads to inflammation.
Continuing research will provide more insights into how these plant compounds help to protect us from disease. But current findings bolster the reasons we all should be trying to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet. And what better way to do that than by growing your own?
To read more about this research in the July 2010 issue of Agricultural Research, go to: Agricultural Research.
Be Kind to the Earth with Earth-Kind Landscaping
Earth-Kind? Landscaping is a system developed by Aggie Horticulture?, part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, as a way to help gardeners create attractive landscapes that are kind to Mother Earth. Using research-proven techniques that have been tested under real-world conditions, Earth-Kind? Landscaping provides a guide for planting for maximum beauty and enjoyment, while preserving and protecting the environment through water conservation, reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use, landscaping for energy conservation and reduction of the amount of landscape waste going to landfills.
Also included on the Earth-Kind? website are sections on growing low-input roses, selecting plants that are tolerant of drought, heat and pests and using integrated pest management techniques. A series of podcasts covering topics related to Earth-Kind? landscaping are available to listen to. The website's current featured topic is drought preparedness in urban landscapes, with a video on landscape water conservation and links to related publications.
Although the Earth-Kind? system was developed with the needs of Texas gardeners in particular in mind, there is so much good general information at this site that gardeners in all parts of the country will find many helpful suggestions for creating thriving, environmentally responsible landscapes no matter where they plant their shovels.
To find out more about Earth-Kind® Landscaping, go to: Earth-Kind .
Long Lasting Deer and Rabbit Repellent
Deer and rabbits are some of the hardest garden pests to deal with. They are voracious, will happily chomp on all kinds of plants and are tough to exclude from garden areas. There are a number of repellent products on the market, but they generally lose potency quickly when exposed to sun and rain and need to be continually renewed to maintain their effectiveness.
Now Orcon makes life easier for gardeners with its Plant Pro-tec Deer and Rabbit Repellent. This all natural, organic repellent has a patented slow-release system that allows one application to remain potent for 6 to 8 months. The active ingredient, concentrated garlic juice, is housed inside a plastic container that allows the repelling vapors to escape, but remain unaffected by rain or moisture and inaccessible to children and pets. The container itself will degrade naturally within 24 months.
Recently the National Home Gardening Club awarded its Seal of Approval to this product. Their seal is awarded to products that are tested and recommended by their members nation-wide. Plant Pro-tec Deer and Rabbit Repellent received a 94% approval rating. Organic, slow-release gopher and mole, and dog and cat repellents are also available.
For more information on Plant Pro-tec Deer and Rabbit Repellent, go to: Organic Control.
Sharing Garden Inspiration
Do you love to share garden pictures and information? Want to hook up with gardeners around the globe? Check out the website www.YourGardenShow.com, an interactive experience for all levels of gardeners that offers unique on-line tools so gardeners can share videos, photos, garden ideas and inspiration. With individual and group garden pages, how-to videos, garden planners and an activity network of bloggers, Your Garden Show brings gardeners together from around the world.
You can also search for gardens that match your growing conditions, or gardens in long list of countries. Want to find out about specific plants? You can search a 107 page database for photos, information and care instructions for plants from Abelia to Zygopetalum, or look for plants based on type, light and water needs and hardiness zone. Create a GLOG, a garden log of your planting activities with a build-your-own almanac and interactive timeline.
Your Garden Show is an international network based in the USA. Team members maintain local roots in California, Iowa, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy, while cooperatively building a global garden project.
For more information on Your Garden Show, go to: Your Garden Show.