FUN: How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Science  08 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5732, pp. 225
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5732.225a

If snails or slugs are chomping your garden, offer them a beer. Attracted to yeast in the liquid, the mollusks will trail right into a dish of beer and drown, sparing your garden from their depredations. Other seemingly strange plant-care suggestions, such as composting nail clippings, also get the thumbs up at the Science of Gardening, a new exhibit from the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California. With the museum's usual flair, the site harvests tidbits on everything from the bacteria that maintain soil fertility to the origins of our modern plant varieties. Iceberg lettuce's firm, round head allows it to endure rough handling during harvest and transportation, for example. A clever section explores the relationship between plants and their pollinators with mock love letters between the parties—followed by a scientific explanation of what's happening. “You appeared in the thousand facets of my eyes” reads a letter from a bumblebee to a lavender flower.

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