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Myth: Hold Your Nose — Composting Stinks!

“Hold Your Nose!”—Said No Real-Life Composter We Talked To, Ever

Every nose has its own unique point of view, er, smell—but all are likely to turn themselves up at the smell of rotting trash. Why then would we assault our nasal passages by composting, aka, piling up a bunch of food and plant waste with the express goal of, gasp, purposefully letting it rot?

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Behind the Fence: 7 Gorgeous Gardens That Save Seeds

— by Jessica B. Turner, PhD candidate, West Virginia University

Mary, Mary, quite contrary…how does your garden’s plant diversity grow? As we recently explored in Myth form, preserving seeds is critical to ensuring we don’t lose entire species to threats like disease spread and climate change. Seeds are super cool when you think about it—especially when you can actually visit the gardens and arboretums that house seed banks.

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Can We Save Seeds for Doomsday?


While some seeds appear immortal, most seeds don’t last forever—unless they’re carefully stored in seed banks or, in some cases, preserved in liquid nitrogen or as part of living collections. This is huge because many plants are under threat of disappearing forever—about 68 percent of evaluated plant species, to be exact.

Take a crash course in ‘Seed Banking 101’ with Murphy Westwood, Tree Conservation Specialist at The Morton Arboretum and Global Tree Conservation officer for Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and Kayri Havens, director of Plant Science and Conservation at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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Myth: Seeds Never Expire

Date Check: Do Seeds Last Forever?

— by Jessica B. Turner, PhD candidate, West Virginia University

It’s a classic blind date story…in the garden. You find a packet of mystery seeds in the back of a drawer, unmarked, no expiration, and you think, I’ll plant these next year, no problem! Come summertime, you’re swooning over fresh juicy tomatoes atop margarita pizza. Way to be immortal, seeds, you think. Even people without a “thing” for planting might assume seeds last forever, thanks to news like this about the crazy-old date seed from 1 CE (AD) that was still viable two thousand-plus years later.