Friday, March 21, 2008

Sonic Horticulture

"In a room near Maida Vale there is an unfortunate carrot strapped to the table of an unlicensed vivisector. Wires pass through two glass tubes full of a white substance; they are like two legs, whose feet are buried in the carrot. When the vegetable is pinched with a pair of forceps, it winces. It is so strapped that it's electric shudder of pain pulls the long arm of a very delicate lever which actuates a tiny mirror... Thus can science reveal the feelings of even so stolid a vegetable as the carrot."
A report in the British publication 'Nation' 1916 on the pioneering experiments of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose. He claimed that plants feel pain and understand affection and wrote papers on 'The Nervous Mechanisms of Plants' and 'Researches into the Irritability of Plants'. Among other things he was able to show that they grow faster and healthier when played pleasant music. Anyone who has ever read 'The Secret Lives of Plants'* or 'Secret Life of the Soil' will have some inkling about the published research in psychobotany. So, I'm going with it. Trying to tailor my playlist around what I imagine my little seedlings would appreciate. Resonancefm is always the radio of choice - no disturbing 'news', ads or traffic updates but I'm also giving them daily doses of Django Rheinhart, Glenn Gould and Thomas Tallis. What are your plants listening to?

*The 1979 documentary on this book is now available on youtube in bite-sized installments. Check out part 5 in which the cabbage correctly identifies the murderer of it's mate!


Frank Key said...

Please monitor the plants during Hooting Yard On The Air on Resonance and keep me informed of their progress. If necessary, I can tailor the show to help them flourish.

Misshathorn said...

I'll do what I can, short of subjecting a control group to Radio4.