Outside of schedules and measurements, plants and the act of growing bring more than food to the table. Nature, trees, flowers and vegetables provide us a sense of accomplishment, peace and serenity. To See Our Full List of Blogs Visit Our Dig Deeper Blog Homepage.
What's This Bug? The Fungus Gnat
January 14, 2021:These itty bitty insects are fungus gnats, although they go by many names, including "soil maggots", "soil gnats", and, (very commonly) "fruit flies". People often mistake fungus gnats for fruit flies, but if you look closely you will see that they look more like tiny mosquitoes than any kind of fly. Although they look like mosquitoes, they don't behave like them. They can't bite and are utterly harmless to humans. However, they do have a nasty habit of flying around people's faces, so it's pretty easy to inhale or swallow one. Unpleasant but not necessarily dangerous.Read More >>
The Tree Cut Down By a Cartoon
December 9, 2020:If you think politics are polarizing, try asking a group of people how they feel about aluminum Christmas trees. Whether you like their kitsch factor or find them an abomination, there is no denying that their shimmering sheen is a sight to behold. Aesthetics aside, their place in American culture and their ultimate demise are as interesting as the reflective light patterns they create.Read More >>
Trees & Thanksgiving
November 19, 2020:As I continue my months-long devotion to trees, Thanksgiving looms large on the calendar. It's a week away as I write this, and people are scrambling to get their plans together. I feel fortunate in that we had already been planning an immediate family-only meal ahead of the Covid call to shrink gatherings. Without the preoccupation over preparations, I have had time to consider how trees fit into Thanksgiving. My conclusion is that every season, and every holiday, gives us an opportunity to appreciate trees and Thanksgiving gives us some special opportunities.Read More >>
Yes, We Have Trees In Our Desert
October 21, 2020:The biggest misconception non-desert dwellers have about our ecosystem is that we don't have trees. Or that our "trees" are saguaros. Both couldn't be more untrue: We have a huge number of trees that grow happily here and, while we love our saguaros, they are the grandfathers of the desert cacti and not trees at all. The Sonoran Desert where I live is a harsh and arid place, but by no means the harshest or most arid of deserts (see here for those). The part of the Sonoran Desert I live in (Tucson) is not even the most extreme area in the region. Here we have some elevation, deep underground water resources, and, on occasion, are able to pull moisture from the Sea of Cortez and even the Gulf of Mexico. All of which means this ecosystem is able to maintain healthy trees and tree diversity.Read More >>
A Perfect Paring: Cannabis and IPM
September 2, 2020:Current cannabis growing norms are ideal for practicing Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Whether they are motivated by the desire to grow healthy, clean plants, or purely by regulatory constraints, the end result is the need to minimize impacts on people and the environment. IPM begins with getting your soil or soil medium right and moves on to pest prediction, trapping and monitoring; using cultural, biological and (carefully vetted) chemical controls and, throughout it all, conscientious observation and record-keeping to plan for the future (for more on all this see our IPM page here). All of which works perfectly for a well-run grow. Read More >>
10 Great Plants That Need A Good Home
July 30, 2020: If you are deep in the throes of Plant Parenting (or just a Plant Lover), you are probably always looking for a new plant to add to your collection. I would like to suggest the following 10 candidates. These plants aren't wildly new; in fact, you've probably seen most of them before. But give them a second look anyway - even the smallest, scrawniest brown dog in the pound has untold stories to share with you.
These are not in any particular order and I have thrown in a mix of types to (hopefully) offer something for everyone. Additionally, they are all fairly-easy to very-easy to grow, for those people whose eyes are bigger than their nurturing skills. With the exception of the Fiber Optic Grass, this selection consists of tropical plants and several of them are toxic to a degree. While that should not necessarily disqualify them, it is something to consider for many people. I have also included links to more information on caring for them, so you can get the low-down quickly.Read More >>
Oils for Pest Control – Essential, Botanical, Whatever...
June 26, 2020: Essential oils are the driving force behind many of the nature-based pest control and fungicide products in the retail world today. Sometimes called botanical oils or horticultural oils, the distinctions between essential and botanicals can be semantic, non-existent, or formulation-driven. Horticultural oils, on the other hand, are generally mineral oils and not plant-based. Essential oils are derived from various plants and have been used to combat pests for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Neem oil, for instance, is a product of the Neem tree and has been used in India since ancient times. Essential oils work in many ways to control pest creatures and fight pathogens: they smother insect pests, they coat plant surfaces and suppress fungal growth, they breakdown insect exoskeletons, they disrupt reproductive cycles and they are excellent repellents. Sometimes all the different oils can be overwhelming to consider; I'm going to go over some of the products we carry to (hopefully) ease some of that. Read More >>
What is That? The Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper.
May 14, 2020: These days everyone wants to just get out and get on with their summer fun (except for those of us in AZ who are entering our self-imposed, heat-avoiding annual lockdown); but, remember there are hungry creatures out there waiting anxiously for your return. Case in point: The Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper (SLG). If you think this sounds like something you might hear on a show like "Moonshiners", you aren't far off. "Gallinipper" is an heirloom Southern term for an exceptionally large insect with a frightening bite. Which this is and it has hairy legs.
So, what is this bug? It's a mosquito (Psorophora ciliate), but not your average skeeter. It's unusual in many ways. First of all, the SLG is big (as you've no doubt deduced) - like 3 to 6 times as big as a typical mosquito. It's fairly rare and does not appear unless there has been abundant wet weather. It's also an aggressive carnivorous predator that prefers other mosquitoes as prey, but does not limit itself to them. On the up side, it's not a vector for disease transmission to humans...Read More >>