Photo: The Ewan via Flickr
We may live in society that stresses equality between the genders, but when it comes to gardening, women seem to have an upper larynx. According to a recent experiment by the Royal Horticultural Society in England, tomato plants grow faster when they are crooned at. The sung-to tomatoes grew two inches higher than their unserenaded counterparts. Female voices worked especially well for hasty tomato growth. Male voices, on the other hand, couldn’t make the tomatoes grow as quickly, and in some cases, low-voiced males were able to stunt the growth of the tomatoes by warbling at them. This must be why we throw rotten tomatoes at horrible singers. Wokka Wokka. Do Women Make Better Gardeners?
The researchers picked a collection of different-sounding folks for the experiment. Over the course of a month, 10 different tomato plants were caroled to via headphones connected to the plants’ pots. Two tomato plants were chosen as a control group, taken to a quiet place and received no singing.
The plants that were sung to or talked at by women grew one inch higher than those that were chirped at by men. Incidentally, it was Sarah Darwin, great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin, who had the best voice for growing tomatoes. Her plant towered an inch higher than any other, two inches higher than any male-tended tomato plant.
Her secret to success? She read the plants a passage from Origin of the Species.
I'm not sure if it's my dulcet tones or the text that I read from On the Origin of Species that made the plant sit up and listen, but either way I think it is great fun and I'm proud of my new title.
Why Tomatoes Love the Women
No one is quite sure why women are better at inspiring tomatoes than men. Colin Crosbie, Garden Superintendent at RHS theorizes that women have a greater range of pitch and tone that affect the sound waves that strike the plant.
Sound waves are an environmental effect just like rain or light.
Before the experiment started, men were expected to get a better response from their tomatoes. Male voices caused some rapid plant growth, but a few men, men who were like those fathers who push their kids too hard at Pee-Wee Football in a vain attempt to recapture their own high-school glory days, left their plants horticulturally stunted.
Real-Life Applications For Your Home and Garden
It seems as if talking to your garden helps. If you have a sonorous male voice, speak to your plants in a falsetto but expect to get looks.