Image Description: Entomologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspect orange trees for Asian citrus psyllids that have been killed by introduction of the beneficial fungus Hirsutella citriformis.
The psyllids are insects that spread a disease that has devastated citrus crops, causing $3.6 billion in damage in Florida since 2006.
Learn about efforts to save crops with beneficial fungus.
Photo by Stephen Ausmus, USDA.
Image description: The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as the corpse flower or stinky plant, just bloomed at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory.
Once the plant fully opens, it remain in bloom for 24 to 48 hours, and then it collapses quickly. Learn more about the titan arum.
Photos by the Architect of the Capitol.
There’s no better time to plant a garden than spring, when the weather is just right for plants and flowers. But you don’t have to do it alone. Planting a garden can be a great family activity that also promotes the environment.
There are several things you should consider before getting started.
Before Planting a Garden
Figure out how much space you have and what type of plants you’d like to have. There are different types of gardens for houses or apartments. Do some research and pick the one you like the most.
Once you are ready:
- Select the plants you want. If you’re not sure which ones to choose, go to a gardening store and take your family with you. Everybody can help pick the plants, flowers or fruit trees for your home.
- Make a budget for plants and materials to help you stay on track.
- Be careful with drainage holes as too little water or too much water can affect the growth of your plants.
- Make sure the soil has the right nutrients. Ask a specialist to recommend the right type of soil for your garden.
When Planting a Garden
Consider these tips as you begin:
- Separate your flowers and trees so they are not too close to each other.
- Figure out how much water and shade each plant will need.
- Make a layout of your garden so you know which plants need to go where.
Once you’re ready to start, get your family together and assign tasks such as spreading the soil and placing the seeds in the holes.
After Planting a Garden
Taking care of your garden regularly will help your plants grow healthy. Give family members weekly tasks to help maintain the garden. For a healthy garden, make sure to:
- Water your plants according to their needs. Some will need more water, some will need less.
- Add fertilizer to the soil to make sure your plants get the nutrients they need.
- Protect your garden from unwanted pests by using pesticides (check how to use pesticides safely.)
- Trim your plans and remove any dry leaves and fallen fruits. It will make your garden look clean and lush.
Image description: This native prairie flower is called Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum), named for its feathery flowers which resemble a puff of pink smoke.
Photo by Neil Shook, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Encyclopedia of Life recently celebrated the creation of its one millionth species page with the addition of hundreds of thousands of new images and specimen data from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
The Encyclopedia of Life is building the largest online collection of biological descriptions, multimedia, and links about biological diversity on our planet. Anybody can join the community of scientists, learners, and citizens that are discussing, adding to, rating, organizing, and freely re-using the information.