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    Figuring out how to feed people in space is a major part of a larger effort to demonstrate the viability of long-term human habitation of extraterrestrial environments. On May 12, 2022, a team of scientists announced that they had successfully grown plants using lunar soil gathered during the Apollo moon missions. But this is not the first time that scientists have attempted to grow plants in soils that typically do not support life. I am a historian of Antarctic science. How to grow plants and food in the far southern reaches of Earth has been an active area of research for more than 120 years. These efforts have helped further understanding of the many challenges of agriculture in extreme environments and eventually led to limited, but successful, plant cultivation in Antarctica. And especially after the 1960s, scientists began to explicitly look at this research as a stepping stone to human habitation in space. The earliest efforts to grow plants in Antarctica were primarily focused on providing nutrition to explorers. In 1902, British physician and botanist Reginald Koettlitz was the first...
    For any astronauts hoping to survive on the surface of the moon, growing crops will be an essential. Now, scientists have taken 'one small step' towards growing plants on the lunar surface, after showing it's possible to grow thale cress in lunar soil – albeit here on Earth.  Researchers from the University of Florida grew the plants in soil collected by NASA during the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions. The findings raise hopes that plants could be grown on the moon during future space missions, and even enable mankind to set up a lunar colony. 'For future, longer space missions, we may use the Moon as a hub or launching pad,' explained Professor Rob Ferl, one of the study's authors. 'It makes sense that we would want to use the soil that's already there to grow plants.' Scientists have taken 'one small step' towards growing plants on the lunar surface, after showing it's possible to grow thale cress in lunar soil Researchers from the University of Florida grew the plants in soil collected by NASA during the Apollo 11,...
    FOOD can be grown on the moon — paving the way for humans to colonise space. Scientists say lunar leeks and carrots could be even healthier than fruit and veg from Earth. 2Food can be grown on the moon and could be even healthier than fruit and veg from Earth 2Scientists say they found the stress of growing in alien soil boosts levels of protective compounds in plantsCredit: SWNS They found the stress of growing in alien soil boosts levels of protective compounds, commonly found in superfoods such as blueberries and kale. The experts cultivated thale cress — a small flowering plant from the same family as cauliflower and broccoli — in 12 soil samples from the Apollo 11, 12, and 17 lunar landings. It is the first time the experiment has been allowed, as the five-decades-old moon scrapings are considered “precious national treasures”. All the seeds sprouted after fertiliser, water and light were added. Read More on FoodLETTUCE IN You've been chopping your lettuce wrong, food fan reveals how to WITHOUT a knife But while the thale cress...
    (CNN)In a landmark first, scientists have grown plants in lunar soil using samples collected during the Apollo missions to the moon. This is the first time plants have been sprouted and grown on Earth in soil from another celestial body. The study could lay the foundation for growing plants that supply oxygen and food on the moon, a timely consideration as NASA's Artemis program looks to land the first woman and the first person of color at the lunar south pole later this decade. But the experiments also reveal just how stressful it is for plants to grow in lunar regolith, or soil, which is wildly different from natural habitats on Earth.A study detailing the plant experiment published Thursday in the journal Communications Biology.Different types of plants, including food crops, have flown on the space shuttle and the International Space Station. Plant samples have even been used to prove that lunar samples aren't harmful to life on Earth. (From left) Study coauthors Anna-Lisa Paul and Rob Ferl of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are shown...
    Just in time to screw up those New Year’s diet resolutions, more lettuce recalls were announced. Most of these are due to contamination, either by salmonella or listeria, and can be blamed on either the way lettuce is grown or how it is processed. Disease-causing bacteria can spread easily during large-batch washing/processing, leading to outbreaks and recalls. This ultimately means shortages and higher prices for everyone. (Well, at least those of us who eat lettuce.) Anyone who’s attended my gardening talks has heard about my fondness for hydroponic supply stores. They have a good selection of higher quality growing supplies, and the vibe is a bit different from the usual garden center. Now that marijuana cultivation has become (relatively) legal, hydroponics has also gone mainstream. Even Costco offers a countertop hydroponics setup for growing your own lettuce and herbs. If you have tried growing lettuce just to have it devoured by the local bunny population or ruined by slugs and snails, you might consider trying out one of these little hydroponic units. If you want to grow more than just...
    Gorse bushes on a hilltop.Malcolm Fife/Zuma Press Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The gorse bushes that have invaded many Scottish landscapes could produce enough protein to feed millions of people, according to the leader of a Scottish government research programme. The surprising suggestion by Prof Wendy Russell, at the University of Aberdeen, comes from research on the protein content of invasive plants that have to be doused with herbicides or burned back to keep them under control. Gorse contains 17 percent protein and broom has 21 percent protein, she said, adding: “Gorse and broom were fed to cattle at times when crops failed in the past, so we think protein from these types of plants could be used as animal food. If protein isolates are produced in the correct way, so to be safe, they could be considered as human food in the future.” Gorse “is actively being removed from marginal lands—it’s something...
    Q: I have quite a few indoor plants and I am not really good at remembering when to water. Any ideas how I could help the plants retain water a bit better? I am trying to improve my watering skills. A: Many indoor plant owners find their watering skills fall into either the feast or famine categories. They forget to water plants or they stray in the other direction and water too often. A few fortunate ones, no doubt, seem to have that perfect magic timing. Unless you under-water plants until they are wilted, it is still better than too much. Rotten roots can’t be fixed. Here are few ideas. Switch out plastic pots for clay pots instead. Plastic does not absorb soil moisture. Kiln-fired, unglazed containers, referred as bisqueware, wicks water away from your planting medium through the sides of the container. The water penetrates into the clay and evaporates. Clay pots work more like plants growing outside in the soil. These pots are especially ideal for succulents and cacti, which suffer from soils being too wet. For leafy...
    (CNN)It's the space taco party of your dreams.The International Space Station hosted a taco bash for astronauts on Friday as they celebrated the harvest of the first chile peppers grown in space. The crew finally had a chance to taste test the peppers after initially kicking off the plant experiment on the space station in July. Plant Habitat-04 is one of the most complex plant experiments on the orbiting laboratory to date because peppers take much longer to grow than the previous experiments, which included various types of lettuce, flowering zinnias and even radishes. After growing for four months, the peppers were harvested on Friday by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. Next, they were sanitized before the crew settled in to taste some of the red and green chiles and take surveys about the flavor and texture. Following the taste test, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur made her "best space tacos yet: fajita beef, rehydrated tomatoes & artichokes, and HATCH CHILE!" the astronaut shared on Twitter.Read MoreNASA astronaut Megan McArthur shows off the tasty results of her new space taco recipe.Some...
    A woman has stunned TikTok with a video in which she claims that 'botanical sexism' is partially to blame for allergies getting worse each season. Ellie Botoman, 24, from New York, cited horticulturist Tom Ogren's research in her viral clip, which has been viewed more than 1.9 million times. The TikTok shows her taking a sip of her coffee in her apartment and then pausing, as if something had just occurred to her.   'When you realize that allergies/asthma across North America got worse [because] landscapers and city planners thought male trees were easier to maintain,' she captioned the video.  Scroll down for video   Blowing minds: Ellie Botoman, 24, from New York, has explained how 'botanical sexism' has contributed to allergy and asthma symptoms worsening in viral TikTok video  Say what? Botoman cited horticulturist Tom Ogren's research, explaining that allergies are increasing each year because of the surplus of male trees planted across North America 'And [because] they planted so many male trees, those species now release tons of pollen each year to compete for a few females,' she...
    Most households in America keep tea in stock, and in recent decades, the number of us who are drinking tea has doubled a couple of times over. It is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year business here, and the trend seems to be continually swinging upward. Now, for those who are into tea, there might be some good news on the horizon. It turns out that a good chunk of the continental United States is suitable for growing tea, and it’s even produced commercially in Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southeast United States. In other words, some of us might be able to grow this stuff at home. Wouldn’t that be grand! Well, for those who are in the right USDA growing zones, 6-9 (Hello New York, Washington DC, St. Louis, Atlanta, Dallas, Portland!) the news will only get better. So, get the kettle boiling, settle down and dive into how to grow your own hedgerow tea. Tea as a Plant The tea plant, Camelia sinensis, originated in China and India. It’s a hardy evergreen with glossy leaves and white flowers...
    NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Mission Commander Michael Hopkins and project scientists at Florida's Kennedy Space Center have grown leafy greens aboard the International Space Station for 64 days, the longest duration to date.  The four Vegetable Production System, or "Veggie," experiments included both the previously grown "Extra Dwarf" pak choi and the new "Amara" mustard. INGENUITY MARS HELICOPTER ACES FOURTH FLIGHT AT SECOND ATTEMPT, WILL ENTER NEW DEMONSTRATION PHASE In a release detailing the news, NASA wrote Tuesday that the pak choi had grown for so long that it began to flower as part of its reproduction cycle. In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, the space center's Matthew Romeyn said Amara is nutrient-rich and pak choi -- which was selected by middle school and high school students as part of the Growing Beyond Earth program -- is "bio-efficient."  NASA astronaut and Expedition 64 flight engineer Michael Hopkins smells ‘Extra Dwarf’ pak choi plants growing aboard the International Space Station on March 26, 2021. The plants were grown for the Veggie study, which is exploring space agriculture as a way to sustain astronauts on future missions to the Moon or Mars. (NASA) Part of...
    Who doesn’t love fresh vegetables? If you’re the kind of person who is always on the hunt for the crispiest in-season produce then you might be interested in growing your own! If that is the case, great. Today might be the day for those home-grown menus to get a little more sophisticated and the gardening to get, equally so, a lot simpler. Growing perennial vegetables, because they require much less energy and resources than cultivating season after season, is actually even better for the environment than growing annual plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. Here are a few perennial plants perfect for the backyard veggie patch, and they’ll provide years of fresh food for the dinner table. 1. Kale FJeff Aldrich/lickr   Amongst the most popular vegetables of the day, kale is widely celebrated for its dark, leafy green goodness, and it’s used in everything from smoothies to salads to snacks. Oddly enough, the popular green, despite being a perennial, is usually grown as an annual plant, propagated anew after each harvest, but this needn’t be the case. Simply...
    (CNN)Astronauts are harvesting fresh radishes grown in space, a delicious prospect that also could help seed food production efforts for longer-term missions to the moon and Mars.On Monday, NASA flight engineer Kate Rubins pulled out 20 radish plants grown in the space station's Advanced Plant Habitat, wrapping them in foil for cold storage until they can make the voyage back to Earth next year.Radishes are the latest type of fresh produce to be successfully grown and harvested in zero gravity, joining "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce, green lettuce, Chinese cabbage, lentils and mustard, according to a NASA fact sheet."I've worked on APH since the beginning, and each new crop that we're able to grow brings me great joy because what we learn from them will help NASA send astronauts to Mars and bring them back safely," said Nicole Dufour, the Advanced Plant Habitat program manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, in a news release.Food for future space missionsRead MoreBack on the ground, scientists at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are growing radishes in a control group set for harvest on...
    An estimated 20 tons of illegal marijuana were seized in the south Riverside County communities of Anza and Aguanga along with cash, guns, honey oil and a banned pesticide when agencies served 38 warrants in raids on properties, sheriff’s deputies said. Seven people were arrested during the action on Wednesday, and a stolen trailer was recovered on one of the properties, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said. The seized marijuana was in the form of  31,878 plants, which were destroyed, and 4,165 pounds of processed plants, deputies said. Authorities also collected 25 firearms as evidence, along with $46,221 in cash that was collected for asset forfeiture proceedings. Ten jars of honey oil were found, and a butane hash oil laboratory was dismantled at one of the locations, deputies said. Carbofuran, a pesticide banned in the United States, was found at one of the locations. Several local and state agencies were involved in the raids, the sheriff’s department said. Aguanga is where seven people were found fatally shot on an illegal marijuana growing operation on Labor Day. Sheriff’s deputies found the...
    BERGHEIM, Texas – Tours at the hemp farm in Bergheim, just outside San Antonio, are about to get a whole lot more interactive. It’s officially hemp harvest time and guests who book tours can participate in the harvesting process. “Schedule a harvest experience and meander the hemp field, while engaging in an immersive sensory experience,” said officials at Pur IsoLabs. Pur Isolabs offers hemp CBD products made from the plants grown on-site. The admission cost for tours is $20 and includes an appreciative gift from the Pur IsoLabs team. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Call (830)-755-8000 to schedule a tour. Guests can expect to help trim some of the first hemp plants grown in Texas in many years. “Due to the experience being a natural process, it is to be determined when the Hemp Harvest Experience will end,” officials said. Wondering if this is legal? While hemp and marijuana are both in the cannabis family “the differentiation occurs with the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, levels,"...
    HUMBOLDT PARK — It’s tough navigating the front half of Marcus Kirby’s apartment these days. Nearly every inch of wall space is lined with house plants: large trees, hanging plants, small succulents, cacti and everything in between. “There’s probably 500 plants in my apartment right now,” said Kirby, 34. When the coronavirus pandemic gripped Chicago in March, Kirby took a big leap: He stepped back from his job as a server at Native Foods in Wicker Park to grow his online house plant business, The Succulent City, into something more than a side hustle. That gamble paid off big time. Kirby has gone from making $1,500 a month as a server/cashier at Native Foods to making up to $15,000 a month selling house plants to Chicagoans stuck at home amid the pandemic. After just a few months, Kirby already has plans for expansion. “It doesn’t feel real to me,” Kirby said. “It just blows my mind that I’ve been wanting this for so long and working toward this for so long that when I actually get here, it’s in the...
    Q. I have a couple of questions regarding growing veggies in pots. I live in an apartment. I have done this for several years, but this year things did not go well. I grew cucumber for the first time, and the plant is huge after five weeks. I got male flowers 10 times more than female flowers, but I have no bees or other insects coming to my balcony to do the pollination. I manually pollinated the female with a Q-tip.  A day later, I noticed the pollinated female was dying. After that, many male flowers shriveled and dropped. I only found two female flowers; one died after I did the pollination, the other is shriveling. What is happening here? I also planted a cayenne pepper, which after six weeks stopped growing, but there are some peppers. Do I need fertilizers? I am trying to learn gardening, and would appreciate your help. Hailen, Bay Area A. You don’t need a backyard to have a vegetable garden. Many vegetables can be grown in pots. But it seems to be bad year...
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