My name is Ruth, which funnily someone once thought would be spelled “root”. Root the Plant Biologist makes perfect sense, of course. I’m the plant person among the Yardians and I’m super excited to be the first to be featured on our blog.
We’re a team of plant lovers, hobby chefs, tinkerers, and tech nerds and we loooove healthy food! We think that the best food is the one that you have been growing yourself, right next to your dinner table. And therefore, we’re working on smart solutions to help everyone grow edible plants at home and have their little veggie garden, no matter whether you’ve got a big backyard or you’re living in a small city apartment.
Long story short, I figured that among all fields of biology the field of plants is the most underrated one and I love being surprised.
I mean, of course, plants play a fundamental role in making this planet a liveable place. Try to imagine this planet without any plants. No Oxygen, no conversion of solar energy into biomass, the earth would be a dead place. That alone would be reason enough to say: plants are cool!
But there’s more. Plants seem to be doing not much more than growing, sprouting new leaves or flowers. Did you know that plants developed highly refined ways to communicate with each other? For example, some plant species send volatile cues (a signaling mixture of chemicals transmitted via air) to their neighbors to alarm them in case of an insect attack. In turn, when a plant senses these warning signals from a member of the same species it will get ready to protect itself against the approaching enemy. Think of the production of plant chemicals that make it less appealing or even inedible to the attacking insect.
Another example of how plants get what they want: have you ever thought about why plants possess these awesome colorful flowers in all shapes and sizes, not to forget about their mesmerizing scent? A large portion of the plant's energy is used for the sole purpose of developing flowers and that’s simply to ensure that the right type of pollinator is attracted at the right time and does the job of transferring pollen. “Thanks, honey!”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that plants are intelligent thinking beings, but they certainly are much more sophisticated than they might seem at first glance. I could continue on this for a lot longer, haha, please stop me! Plants are cool because they have so many hidden features and most people don’t even know what’s going on when they look at their balcony greens.
Well, you can find ornamentals, such as lavender and hydrangea as well as tomatoes and sugar snap peas, for example. Where I grew up everyone had a nice front yard with ornamentals, some lovely roses or hydrangea. I probably like them because of nostalgia. In the backyard, my parents had all kinds of fruit trees, berry shrubs, and a small vegetable patch too. During summer, we would bake home-made cherry pie and have carrots or tomatoes from the vegetable patch.
When I moved to my 2-room apartment, I realized that I needed my own small plant paradise. Since then, I have been trying to grow ornamentals and edible plants myself. First thing in the morning, I walk out on the balcony and check which plants need water and which ones have new flowers or leaves. I find that a very calm and gentle way to start off the day. So far, I’m most proud of my bell pepper plant, which I grew from seed and which is producing the cutest little bell peppers I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to brag, but they are extremely delicious, super sweet and a bit spicy at the same time. Another plant I currently really enjoy growing is my pineapple sage. If you’re wondering why it is named like that guess what it smells like.
I started working for Yard because I was super curious about the topic of Home Farming. Yard’s vision is to enable everyone to be a Home Farmer, independent of the space you have available to grow plants. The idea is that it is possible to grow edible plants in your kitchen or living room, or basically in any other type of room. Home Farming is about growing ultra-local and about the joys of growing plants, minus the inconvenience or hassle of not having a green thumb. I like the idea that this experience of growing your own food will be accessible to as many people as possible. I’m happy to help to make that possible by sharing my plant knowledge via Yard!