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11 Garden Facts you didn't know

11 Garden Facts you didn't know

11 Interesting Facts About Your Garden

  1. 20'000 slugs live in your garden 

  2. Hydrangeas can change colour from PH levels in soil

  3. Vanilla Beans are from an orchid variant

  4. Apples and Strawberries are types of Roses...

  5. Baking soda can sweeten tomatoes

  6. Butterflies prefer weeds to flowers

  7. Music helps plants grow

  8. A sunflower is not just one flower

  9. A teaspoon of soil contains more organisms than people on the planet

  10. Pumpkins are fruits

  11. Peanuts are not nuts

 

1. 20'000 slugs per average UK garden.

Over 390 billion slugs live in UK gardens. There are on average up to 20'000 slugs per garden in the UK, 200 per square metre!

2. Hydrangeas can change colour from PH levels in soil

A more alkaline soil (PH 7+) will result in pinker blooms, while more acidity (<PH7) will produce blue blooms. Blue tones can be found by adding organic matter to your soil, like egg shells and coffee grounds. Overtime the balance will change. 

3. Vanilla Beans are from an orchid variant

The vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia) produces vanilla beans and is the only orchid that produces an edible fruit. The vanilla orchid is not the only interesting variety; oncidum hybrid (Sharry Baby) is said to smell like chocolate, the cymbidium Golden Elf smells lemony, and the phalaenopsis violacea has a cinnamon scent.

4. Apples and Strawberries are types of Roses...

Apples, strawberries, pears, peaches, cherries, raspberries and more of the rose family and cousins of the classic red rose.

5. Baking soda can sweeten tomatoes

By reducing the acidity of the soil, tomatoes sweeten their taste. However, it is a delicate balance where a high PH can produce a healthy plant with no tomatoes. The balance of acidity and sugar determines the sweetness and smaller varieties will prove to be sweeter on average. Genetics play a large role in natural sweetness but some say baking soda works. 

6. Butterflies prefer weeds to flowers

Trading beauty for scent, butterflies will navigate towards nectar regardless of how visually appealing your garden may be. Research by the Smithsonian Institute, discovered popular flowers have been bred for enhanced colour and size, but at the cost of fragrance in the process. Therefore, untouched and non-selectively bred weeds, like dandelions and clovers, are actually more interesting to butterflies. As a bonus a natural weed garden will not contain pesticides, even better for our pollinating friends. 

7. Music helps plants grow

As Prince Charles discussed, "I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them; they respond." As with most fables and tales of time, the story is based on some fact and adapted over the years. Studies have shown, vibration, like music, or a voice can affect plant growth. As shown on Myth Busters, the comparison of a silent greenhouse to one with a vocal soundtrack, found that plants with vibrations grew more. 

Studies from 1848, by Gustav Fechner in the book Nanna (Soul-life of Plants) stemmed the subsequent research into the matter. A 2007 paper from South Korea's National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology proposed that two genes involved in a plant's response to light—known as rbcS and Ald—are activated by music played at 70 decibels (conversation level). The higher the frequency, the more active the genetic response. However, a Canadian research paper revealed seed germination was only influenced at 92 decibels. 

Marini of the Korean research states, "Plants exposed to wind produce a growth-retardant hormone called ethylene, which causes the plant to be shorter and to have thicker stems. So plants exposed to wind can better survive very windy conditions." Wind or vibrations could therefore be one and the same in their influence of plant growth adapting to potentially volatile environments and requiring a genetic growth response to survive. 

8. A sunflower is not just one flower

The classic brown center and even the yellow petals are actually 1,000 – 2,000 individual flowers. The large petals are individual ray flowers, which do not develop into seed. Pollination and seed development are contained to the brown area taking about 30 days from the time the last flower is pollinated to maturity.

9. A teaspoon of soil contains more organisms than people on the planet

If you ever wondered how organic material decomposes so quickly in the garden, especially in non-domestic areas, the level of organisms existing in that space may explain it. 

Table 1: Relative Numb​er and Biomass of Microbial Species at 0–6 Inches (0–15 cm) Depth of Soil
Microorganisms Number/g of soil Biomass (g/m2)
Bacteria 108–109 40–500
Actinomycetes 107–108 40–500
Fungi 105–106 100–1500
Algae 104–105 1–50
Protozoa 103–104 Varies
Nematodes 102–103 Varies

10. Pumpkins are fruits

Similar to avocados, pumpkins not vegetables but fruits, because they produce seeds. This also works the other way with Rhubarb, a vegetable.

11. Peanuts are not nuts

Peanuts are actually legumes like beans and lentils. This may explain why they have more protein, niacin, folate, and phytosterols than any nut... as they are not nuts. This demotion of nut status comes directly from the National Peanut Board.

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