What Happens When You Remove 10,000 Parking Spaces

In response to Jeff Bezos’ assertion that he can’t think of anything better to do with his billions than build a moon base, let us collectively imagine a list of more worthwhile ideas he could fund. How about an organization that would gift all expenses paid trips to Amsterdam for any nay-saying, “We can’t possibly do that here” Angelino unable to imagine a future without gobs of free parking? Speak out in favor of parking at a community meeting and, congratulations, here’s your KLM ticket. Drop an angry I-can’t-find-parking-tweet? Get ready to smell the tulips.

This Streetfilms production shows what can happen when we de-clutter the cars from our cities. Here in LA, those cars no longer “spark joy.” Get rid of them and we could have gardens, playgrounds, space for public transit and so much more.

Stop Digging! The Benefits of No-Till and Cover Crops

Consider this research as one more nail in the coffin of tilling and double digging. Scientists at UC Davis took a look at how no-till practices combined with cover crops foster a diverse fungi community that “play important roles in nutrient mobilization, organic matter decomposition, carbon cycling and creation of soil structure.” While their research looked at commercial agriculture I think it’s safe to extrapolate their results to home vegetable gardens. The latest issue of California Agriculture sums up the study,

Symbiotrophic fungi expand the surface area of roots, allowing roots greater access to water and nutrients (in exchange for carbon). Fungi, however, are more sensitive than other microorganisms to physical disturbance. Adopting no-till as a conservation management practice eliminates or greatly reduces both disruption of fungal hyphal networks and redistribution of organisms and nutrients in the soil profile. Use of cover crops, meanwhile, provides more abundant and varied sources of organic carbon.

Let me just add that we really regret promoting double-digging in one of our books! The science it pretty clear about the benefits of the relationship between fungi and roots and the damage that tilling can cause to plant/fungi cooperation.

The complete study, “Cover cropping and no-till increase diversity and symbiotroph:saprotroph ratios of soil fungal communities” (behind a pay wall) can be found here.

131 Learning to Smell the Roses with Kendra Gaeta

On this episode of the root simple podcast I talk to Kendra Gaeta about something you probably don’t think about too much–your sense of smell. As usual with the podcast, I have a bad habit of turning off the recorder too soon. After I recorded this interview with Kendra, who is a board member of the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Kendra pulled out a box of scents in tiny vials and proceeded to blow my mind.

Smelling all those vials was a reminder of the sheer range of smells we might encounter and, most likely, ignore in the course of a day. Paying attention to our sense of smell opens up a whole new reality. We think a lot about things we see, hear and taste but don’t give a lot of thought to the way we experience the world through our noses. Kendra will change what you know about your nose! During the conversation Kendra mentions:

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected] You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. Closing theme music by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Pollinators and Power

Beekeeper and activist Terry Oxford has a great new podcast called Pollinators and Power. The premiere episode features Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University. Goulson is the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and author of many books on native pollinators including A Sting in the Tale, A Buzz in the Meadow, Bee Quest and The Garden Jungle. You can read a transcript of the conversation and subscribe to the podcast using your favorite app.

Terry Oxford was a guest on episodes 107 and 109 of the Root Simple Podcast.

Saturday Tweets: Moving Plants on the Subway, Punk Rock and a Cute Medieval Lion