January 18, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Scientist in the garden

3 min read

Are you doing your pandemic garden, even if it’s on a balcony or windowsill? How’s it going? If not, you might consider it as a source of both fresh produce and some peace from the COVID-19 stress. The other day I went to one of my favorite nurseries here in the Sacramento area and it seemed like everyone had the same idea as the garden center was packed. In fact, it was more than packed. When I finally checked out there were 20 people …Read More

5 min read

Looking for some tomato tips? I do sometimes escape the lab into the outside world and once out of there I can often be found in my vegetable garden  looking after my tomatoes. I’ve written many times here on The Niche about gardening including tomatoes and have an occasional series “Scientist in the Garden.” After a couple of decades growing tomatoes, I have a good sense of how to grow a lot of great tomatoes and some reliable tomato tips. While each gardener’s experience …Read More

2 min read

I don’t study frogs, but they’ve sure been studying bugs in my garden this year. Every so often and more frequently in summer I post about experiences as a scientist in the garden. As long-time readers know, I’m a bit obsessed with growing tomatoes. You can see past posts on tomatoes and tips on how to grow great ones here. I’m going to do a new post on tomatoes soon, but this post is more about frogs. Why frogs? I’ve lived in Davis for …Read More

3 min read

What’s better than fresh “fruit” from your own tomato garden? For the last few years when I think about planning my summer tomato garden, I start months in advance preparing the soil. I had fava beans as my cover crop all this past winter and tilled it into the soil late in winter. It adds a lot to the soil in terms of nutrients and nitrogen. You can see in a plant I had just pulled up the little root nodules that crank out …Read More

4 min read

What’s the deal with dragonfly eyes? They are so huge! We’ll zoom in on them. Do bees bite? Yes, but not the way you might think. Growing cool tomatoes? I have some thoughts on that too. I’m a scientist and a gardener so it’s not surprising I write an occasional series here on The Niche called The Scientist in the Garden, with today’s Memorial Day weekend edition focused on the above questions. Dragonfly eyes We get a lot of dragonflies in our backyard and …Read More

2 min read

One of my hobbies is gardening, which helps keeps one’s sanity amongst all the grant writing, etc. However, I have a tough time leaving the science behind when I go out into the garden so sometimes I give in and go all science nerd in the garden. I’ve been doing a series on my blog of occasional posts that I call The Scientist in the Garden. Recently when I went out in the garden with my iPhone equipped with a zoom lens (photography being …Read More

2 min read

I’ve been gardening since I was a kid and I guess I’ve been a scientist that long too so now it’s time for another installment of “scientist in the garden.” You can see past such posts here, which usually include various cool photos.  Today’s post is focused on unusual things in the garden. Getting out in the dirt is a good place to experiment with growing all kinds of unusual things. Arguably the most scientific looking plant is broccoli romanesco, which I’ve grown successfully …Read More

2 min read

I’ve always grown tomatoes in my garden and I like unusual varieties. This year I’ve got a bunch of cool tomatoes growing out back. Some are now starting to ripen so it’s getting more exciting. Note that this posted has been updated for 2020. Growing tomatoes is not as hard as I thought originally, but there are some tricks. I’m going to do a separate post fully on tomato growing tips. Some key ones are pick the sunniest spot in your yard, work on …Read More

2 min read

As readers of this blog may recall, I have a garden where I grow a variety of plants every year. One year I had quite a few sunflowers and ever since I have “volunteer” sunflowers popping up that have all kinds of interesting traits. The neighborhood squirrels collected hundreds of sunflower seeds and buried some as a cache. Some of those survived and sprouted new sunflowers….and so on every year. I’ve noticed that each of the sunflowers becomes its own microcosm with thousands of …Read More