It’s a special time of the year. Tiny crop plants such as corn and soybeans are poking through the ground, creeping skyward to capture the sun’s warming rays.

And they’re screaming their little green heads off about their no-good, sun-sucking neighbours.

At least, that’s what University of Guelph plant scientist Prof. Clarence Swanton hears when he puts his ear to the ground and listens, so to speak, to plants’ response to their environment. A lot of the talk actually occurs between the plants, and many of the messages are the same: Get lost!

Clarence describes the listening phenomenon in my Urban Cowboy column today, in the Guelph Mercury. He’ll also be presenting the topic at an open discussion Friday, June 25, as part of the U of G-OMAFRA News@Noon series, from noon – 1 p.m. in the Ontario Veterinary College Lifetime Learning Centre, room 1714. Admission is free.

The photo of Clarence (below) is from Chatham-area farm writer and broadcaster Blair Andrews’ Farm Connection blog.