I want to share with my fellow gardeners a what plants think about review. I often talk about and contemplate some of the research done in the documentary what plants think about. What plants think about is a phenomenal documentary on studies about plants that take action based on certain stimuli in the environment. The real basis behind the documentary and the theory plants are more evolved than we give credit for is that many plants have significantly more genes than humans. Now that we have mapped the human genome we know that the human has 26,000 genes but as an example a rice plant has over 50,000. What does this really mean? Do plants demonstrate a higher intelligence? Is it possible that the way we define intelligence is only centric to the form of intelligence human beings display? I good question at a time that we are seeking life on other planets adjusting what man defines life as. Many scientist now accept life can be non carbon based. Great thinking outside the box but only after arsenic based life was found.
The documentary goes through various studies showing plants that change their surrounding environment and even one that’s known to have killed off mammals theoretically to prevent extinction. I use this example when I talk to customers about bonsai mostly because we as humans love to move our plants. We love to show them room to room, we love to switch windows, move them indoors then out, we love to try to force them to grow in environments they struggle to adapt to and find frustration when they drop leaves, stress get disease and die. For millions of years they have adapted perfectly to survive outdoors but will struggle for a couple million more to adapt to unnatural conditions indoors being relocated each dinner party. Growing is easy, especially bonsai if we ask do plants think and consider what plants think about.
One of the most common objections to the bonsai hobby I hear is that growing bonsai is hard. I always ask do they own a home?
and if they do do they have trees?
And if they do how healthy are those trees?
how long have they lived?
How tall are they?
And what amazing care do they give those trees?……..wait for it…….wait for it………..
I tend to wait until their face lights up figuring out what I’m asking. Then they replied with “nothing I do nothing to my trees”. I explain bonsai are trees and require are the same care, they are like the rice plants having an enormous number of genes that allow them to adapt to precisely where they are. How much water they get, how much light they get in each season and the temperature. Once they adjust to that window, airflow, tempature…. why not let them stay. My goal in caring for plants is to replicate their natural growing environment as much as possible and in this I find the most success. I tend to toss out plant care guides and just ask where is the plant from and head off to google it.
This documentary was amazing at going in to details and studies to explain how plants adapt to where they are and how they change their environment for survival. There is even an example of a study done to a plant that emits a particular attraction scent to bring around insect predators to attack another insect that are eating its leaves. To me a plant geek this was phenomenal because it’s right in sync with Elaine Ingham research from the Rhodale Institute who teaches that plants when grown in organic soil with a good amount of minerals and and microbiology with mycorhizal fungi that feed the root system should have little or no pests. Theorheticaly if the plant has it’s maximum nutrient intake it can use all it’s defensive genes to make what it needs to ward off pests. To me it makes perfect sense that those 50,000 genes are designed to support natural fertilization through fungi not being fed by humans with fertilizer bags guessing what nutrients that plant needs at that moment. Thus the biggest case for organic growing because our technology is yet to tell us what plants think about. Thus Dr. Inghams statement “If pest’s are preying on your vegetable plants then your vegetable plants should not be eaten because the fruit they are growing is devoid of vitamins minerals and nutrients for any number of reasons and should not be reproduced”. Natures garbage collectors are pest. We should be thankful for them…. Thus labeling Beatles, white flies and aphids pest in the garden as nature’s natural garbage collectors eating the garbage plants and preventing them from reproducing is wrong because they have some sort of genetic defect. I call that defect “humanChemicalfertilizeritis”…..
To me the science behind this documentary makes the greatest argument for organic gardening and farming because we are raising and eating the worst vegetables this planet has ever seen. The vegetables Nature has selected to be destroyed and not reproduce. Our grocery stores are full of food like vegetables that nature intended no mammal that evolved here to eat. My greatest fear is not in the studies that show the food is devoid of vitamins, nutrients and enzymes but are in thing unknown needs our bodies have our sciences can’t tell us. We still know very little about nature and our refusal to grow and eat natural things will land us in spots we may not get out of as a species. But anyway I love this documentary and I highly encourage you to watch it. I found what plants think about on Netflix but I believe it’s also on YouTube . What plants think about is really what we all need to start thinking about.