HOW PLANTS WORK The science behind the amazing things plants do (2015), by Linda Chalker-Scott, a Review
In her recent book Linda Chalker-Scott makes plant physiology accessible to anyone interested in gardening knowledgeably, efficiently and economically. Examples of some questions Chalker-Scott addresses are:
· How do you garden so that you use less fertilizer and fewer pesticides?
· If phytohormones control everything from growth to reproduction and death in plants, how can we as gardeners help them do their job?
· How do plants tell time, move to follow the sun and change color?
· Nitrogen…where does it come from and how much do plants need?
Linda Chalker-Scott, plant physiologist, horticulturist and extension specialist at Washington State University spells out how plants do what they do.
She clearly explains:
· how plant cells work;
· the workings behind roots and mycorrhizal fungi including why, when and how to mulch;
· the facts behind NPK fertilizers and the details of the nutrients and minerals plants need;
· how plants transform sunlight into sugar;
· anthocyanins and how they protect plants, help them retain water and cause leaves to change color;
· pruning and staking basics – how, when and where, and
· plant sex – from ferns and mosses to bulbs, corms, tubers, flowers and berries.
Chalker-Scott writes in an accessible and entertaining way that engages both experienced and novice gardeners. Included are many photos and examples.
Also by Linda Chalker-Scott, THE INFORMED GARDENER (2008). In this science-based book, Chalker-Scott busts dozens of myths about gardening. A few are:
· the myth of organic superiority;
· the myths of soil amendments, phosphate fertilizers, bonemeal and hydrogels
· and the myths of landscape fabrics, clean compost and ‘pretty’ mulch.
Each myth is followed by an extensive list of peer-reviewed references in which the authors are writing for an academic audience.
Linda Chalker-Scott was the keynote speaker at the first Statewide Colorado Master Gardener Conference on Oct 2-4, 2016. Her books were highly recommended by the attending CSU professors and extension agents. Other books by Chalker–Scott are The Informed Gardener Blooms Again and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science, Practical Application.
Article by: Molly Niven, Master Gardener