and the houseplants, just imagine it – chatting with a dracaena deremensis in dracaena deremensisese. Ok, maybe that’s going a bit far but there is some compelling new research that supports becoming more friendly with the animals and the plants.
While the myth of talking to plants and animals has always existed, a study from Newcastle University in England looked at the relationship between dairy cows and their farmers. The findings? Probably something that caring farmers have always known but the data proved out that farmers giving personal attention and a name to their dairy cows produce an average of 80 gallons more milk each year than those numbering their cows in a factory setting. The scientists believe that placing more emphasis on the individual animals increased the comfort of the dairy cows and removed fear resulting in increased production. In other words, animals raised humanely are not only happier, but they are rewarding their owners with a higher output.
Similarly, there are also those who advocate the idea of conversing with plants. In a 1986 interview, England’s Prince Charles discussed his gardening habits, saying “I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them; they respond.” And while I’m sure there are some who would act exclusively upon the Prince’s advice, it’s compelling to know that there is also evidence that may support his claim.
While there hasn’t been a lot of research on this topic, Rich Marini, head of Penn State’s horticulture department suggests that because a plant’s ability to respond and react to changes in the environment is essential for survival, plants react quickly to a variety of environmental factors including sound. Explains Marini, “Wind or vibration will induce changes in plant growth. Since sound is essentially vibration, my guess is that vibration is causing a response.”
There is other research supporting Marini’s hypothesis. In 2007, a group of scientists from South Korea’s National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology found that two genes (rbcS and Ald) which are involved in a plant’s response to light are stimulated by music played at 70 decibels. Apparently 70 decibels corresponds to the output of a normal conversation.
Through Google and other sources, I’ve uncovered a modicum of other research tidbits that support the notion of being kind to and having conversations with plants. To me, none of it is as convincing as the dairy cow study but at this point, I feel like I can trust my hunch regarding smaller farms and caring farmers. And if reaching outward with love and kindness and music and conversation is good for people and for our animals, then why not extend the actions to the plant world? In a worse case scenario, they wouldn’t respond and we’d have put the good vibrations out there anyway. Clearly someone’s been whispering to this batch of Arizona sweet onions.
- 4 AZ Sweet Onions thinly sliced
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 3 Tbs butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 Tbs flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 oz. grated gruyere
- chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 375. Prepare and partially bake a crust to fit a 9 inch pan. Saute onions in oil and butter over low heat until golden. Beat together the eggs, half and half, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the onions and half of the grated cheese. Pour into the crust and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.