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No-Waste Lawn & Garden

By —— Bio and Archives--September 28, 2007

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Minnesota’s motto reads L’Etoile du Nord—The Star of the North. Indeed to our American cousins it is known as the North Star State. If that is so, to judge by their website, surely one of the stellar organizations there must be the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

Visit and discover what your lawn and garden’s effect on the environment can be in this useful, well laid-out and above all practical site.

Cutting the grass? Learn how to trim air and noise pollution, too.

Gasoline-powered lawn mower contribute more than their fair share to air pollution, suggests the MPCA. A new mower would emit 93 times more pollution on a gallon-for-gallon basis than a brand-new automobile; older models have even fewer emission controls, may run on messy oil/gas fuel mixes, and are generally overdue for a tune-up, says the agency, finishing with the oh-so-true: “And then there’s the noise—the little engine that could ... drive you crazy!”

So electric mowers are suggested, having many benefits over their gas counterparts. Better still, there’s the reel deal: for eliminating pollution you can’t beat today’s push mower ... Sweat is not a pollutant that we’re worried about ... and the exercise will do you some good, advises the irrepressible website.

Other areas most gardeners will find fascinating are such as, “Need more time? Mow, fertilize, water and rake less,” or “Compost yard waste and other organics,” “Double-duty landscaping,” “Doing your best against pests,” even a section on “Alternatives to treated lumber.”

Maybe Minnesota is also referred to as the ‘Gopher State’ by envious others amongst our American cousins, but you should certainly ‘go-fer’ this web site.

Botany Barcode
In last March issue of Natural History, Kenneth M. Cameron, suggested that a system modelled on commercial barcodes may soon enable anyone to identify any plant from a small fragment of its DNA. In fact, the eminent scientist went further to suggest the use of a hand-held “Global Floral Scanner” connected to a database could come into use “sooner than you think.”

While progress to establish a universal genetic database of life is well underway zoologically, botanists have been slower to join the action. In the main, this is for technical reasons. Genetically, plants offer more of a challenge than animals in this respect.

Nevertheless, there are plant contributions to this barcode blog hosted by Mark Stoeckle that gardeners of a scientific bent will find informative and interesting. It is, as the host says, “a mostly scientific blog about short DNA sequences for species identification and discovery.” It is also singularly well illustrated, a great advantage under these circumstances.

Barcoding offers non-taxonomists the prospects for a simple, straightforward and hopefully inexpensive way to identify any life form in the not-to-distant decades. The sighs of relief from horticulturalists will waft through herbaria and their inhabitants. Website

Covering Up Drives & Parking Lots
Why not park on the grass? Fans of the Houston Texans do just that at Reliant Stadium. Claimed to be the world’s largest engineered grass porous pavement system, it covers 317,000 square feet.


Wes Porter -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. Wes has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.

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