Things to Read

If you’ve been on this blog before, you would have realised that I have a passion for growing food. This passion is partly fuelled by environmental concerns and this concern is partly fuelled by a love of science. I say partly because there are other reasons for growing food and other reasons to worry about the environment, but those discussions are for another time.

For now, let’s just say I love science. I love figuring out how stuff works. In another life I was supposed to be a secondary school Chemistry teacher, which basically means teaching all three sciences these days. There are loads of topics in GCSE Chemistry, Biology and Physics that are connected to gardening and/or can inform on how our lifestyles impact the environment.

Through the next year I’ll add relevant topics to explain why plants need water and other nutrients, how inheritance works and even things like pH (how acidic or alkaline something is). I’ll highlight some of less obvious problems. For example, most gardeners are aware of why pesticides are bad, due to food chains and webs, but not that many understand the problems of fertilisers. The immense amount of energy required to manufacture the fertilisers is often overlooked. If fossil fuels are burnt to make this energy then we have the release of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas), carbon monoxide (toxic gas) and sulphur dioxide (creates acid rain). In addition, in order for the fertilisers to be taken up by the plant they need to be soluble (can dissolve) in water. If they’re soluble then they can be washed away by the rain/watering. The excess fertilisers can be disastrous for some ecosystems.

All of the topics will be GCSE level so you might know it all already, or maybe you learnt it all so long ago that you’ve forgotten it, or even, like some of the teenagers I tutor, you once crammed for the exams and by the time you collected your results all that info was deemed unnecessary and erased from your consciousness. So I’ll use the proper terms for things but explain them as I go. I can only apologise if this leads to over explaining things that you already know or if it seems a bit condescending.

I’ll try and keep them relevant to other posts but if you have any topics you think I should do, please feel free to let me know.

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