Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Horticulturati

Dec 14, 2020

Fertilizers...oxidizers...explosions! We’re still trying to wrap our brains around Ammonium Nitrate over here, so we called on science superstar Dr. Kate Biberdorf, aka Kate the Chemist, to help us out. What is Ammonium Nitrate, and why is this volatile chemical so ubiquitous? What are the conditions that create fertilizer explosions? Is synthetic fertilizer safe? We ask these questions and more, then find ourselves back down the philosophical rabbit hole: questioning our assumptions about organic food, while taking stock of the unintended consequences of industrial agriculture. 

This is a follow-up to our earlier Ammonium Nitrate episode (released September 19, 2020). Drop us a line at and/or leave a voicemail at 347-WAP-HORT. 


Kate the Chemist on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; Kate’s books: The Big Book of Experiments ; and her Kate the Chemist fiction series; Hypoxic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico; “Deadly blue-green Algae returns to Austin’s Lady Bird Lake” (, July 20, 2020); “Austin’s toxic algae bloom continues to keep dogs out of Lady Bird Lake” (Culture Map Austin September 11, 2019).