Botany for Gardeners
Judith Sumner, a botanist and frequent lecturer for botanical and horticultural organizations, and instructor at the college level, and at botanic gardens including the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University and Garden in the Woods, will be giving a talk called ‘Botany for Gardeners’. Her talk is aimed at gardeners who want to understand more about how plants grow. Judith will also cover fertilizers, symbiotic relationships in the soil, and specific adaptations in garden plants.
All Somerville Garden Club meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings are usually held the second Wednesday of each month at the Tufts Administration Building, (TAB), 167 Holland Street, second floor, wheelchair accessible. Parking is available, and the building is a ten-minute walk from the Davis Square MBTA stop.
A member recently was asking about what people in the club have done when they’ve found out they have high levels of lead in their soil. This article has a an interesting summary of some tactics: http://thefoodproject.org/soil-testing-and-remediation Much of the advice focuses on food production, but if young children or chickens who like to play in the dirt (who doesn’t?), you might be motivated to take some action.
Highlights from the article:
- You can remove the contaminated soil with clean soil; this is an expensive option
- Raised beds can be effective; use landscape fabric to separate the old soil from the new
- Amending with LOTS of compost dilutes the soil, neutralizes the pH, and therefore makes the lead less “bioavailable”
- Phytoremediation – growing plants that will pull out lead from the soil – may have moderate effect; may take many years
And if you haven’t gotten a soil test, what are you waiting for?
You can order a soil test from Umass Amherst: http://soiltest.umass.edu/services