Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

“Roundup” Birth Defects

Regulators have known as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects. Why was the public kept in the dark? Read the article below.

Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World’s Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems, New Report Finds

By Lucia Graves

WASHINGTON — Industry regulators have known for years that Roundup, the world’s best-selling herbicide produced by U.S. company Monsanto, causes birth defects, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The report, “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” found regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals.

But despite such warnings, and although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public.

Instead regulators misled the public about glyphosate’s safety, according to the report, and as recently as last year, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the German government body dealing with the glyphosate review, told the European Commission that there was no evidence glyphosate causes birth defects.

Published by Earth Open Source, an organization that uses open source collaboration to advance sustainable food production, the report comes months after researchers found that genetically-modified crops used in conjunction Roundup contain a pathogen that may cause animal miscarriages. After observing the newly discovered organism back in February, Don Huber, an emeritus professor at Purdue University, wrote an open letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting a moratorium on deregulating crops genetically altered to be immune to Roundup, which are commonly called Roundup Ready crops.

In the letter, Huber also commented on the herbicide itself, saying: “It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.”

Although glyphosate was originally due to be reviewed in 2012, the Commission decided late last year not to bring the review forward, instead delaying it until 2015. The chemical will not be reviewed under more stringent, up-to-date standards until 2030.

“Our examination of the evidence leads us to the conclusion that the current approval of glyphosate and Roundup is deeply flawed and unreliable,” wrote the report authors in their conclusion. “What is more, we have learned from experts familiar with pesticide assessments and approvals that the case of glyphosate is not unusual.

“They say that the approvals of numerous pesticides rest on data and risk assessments that are just as scientifically flawed, if not more so,” the authors added. “This is all the more reason why the Commission must urgently review glyphosate and other pesticides according to the most rigorous and up-to-date standards.”

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Herb Garden in a Shoe Organizer

I just bumped into this clever idea online for a space saving herb garden by pippa5. This idea keeps your herbs off the ground, which is great if you have pets that love to dig and play in your garden. I’m going to try this.


Clever idea by Pippa5

Materials needed:
– White hanging pocket shoe organizer (White protects the roots from the sun. White reflects more light. Plastic or canves organizer is fine. Non breathable will retain moister better)
– Pole and attachments (curtain pole or pipe fittings, screws)
– Strong metal saucepan or utensil hanging hooks
– Compost of a good quality moister holding type
– Selection of plants or seeds… (e.g. mixed leaf salad, herbs, sorrel, peas, mini tomatoes)
– Piece of wood 2″x2″ as long as the width of the pocket store to keep the base of pockets away from the wall
– Trough planter to catch drips


Clever idea by pippa5

Attach a strong chrome pole with metal fittings to a shed. You could use a curtain pole. Make sure it is at the correct height, especially if you want to grow plants in a trough below (see step 7). This uses the surplus water from the pockets above.

Use strong hooks or wire to attach the shoe organizer. They must be strong enough to support the weight of the compost, plants and water.

Make sure you you hang this away from the wall, otherwise you will get mold and mildew growing on the wall surface behind the shoe organizer.


Clever idea by pippa5

Test the drainage. Pour water into the pockets, if they don’t drain then make a few small holes in each of the pockets.


Clever idea by pippa5

Add a good moister retaining compost. Fill to 1″ below the rim so that water does not pour out over the rim.


Clever idea by pippa5

Sow seeds or add seedlings. Suggestions:
– Small annuals and herbs work best
– Herbs: Thyme, Sorrel, Chives
– Salad: Mixed leaf, mustard, cut and come again, or spinach
– Minibel tomatoes
– Petit pois peas. You can eat the young leaflets and tendrils


Clever idea by pippa5

Use a piece of wood to make sure the excess water drips into a trough below.

– Water slowly with a gentle flow, or you may wash soil and plants out of the pocket and it will dirty the crop below.

– Add water retaining crystals to the compost.
(Add water to some crystals in a container and allow them to swell, then add that to the compost and fill your containers. Otherwise, when the crystals swell they can grow so much that they push the compost, seeds and plants out.)

– Plants like tomatoes will need regular tomato fertilizer (and use slow release granules) as the fertility of the compost will soon get exhausted.

– Do not over pick salad leaves, so the plant re-grows.

– It is important to keep a look out for aphids, slugs, caterpillars and other pests.

– Remove diseased, infected or damaged leaves… compost them.

– Remove unproductive plants and compost them.

– When reusing pockets, add some fresh compost.

If you’re considering eating the fruits of your labor, there are natural fertilizers and companion plants to aid in pest control instead of using chemicals.

Planting onions, garlic or chives around your garden helps keep some pests away. You can also grow very hot peppers, dry or grind them, then mix with a clove of garlic and let the mix steep in the sun in a glass close-able jar. Then strain/dilute with a drop of soap and spray it on your plants. Be sure to label your spray.

You can choose to mist your plants very frequently to the extent that they hardly need any watering at the roots. That would be ideal to avoid mold and the plants would love it. Its better to have plants under watered than over watered. It is wise to water heavy one day (saturate the soil) and then let it dry out over three days or so. Water early in the morning or late in the afternoon. During the heat of the day, herbs will curl their leaves in order to preserve moister. Watering during this time will force the plants to open their leaves, and eventually cause them to dry out.

Never harvest more than half of a plant at one time. When harvesting, be sure to pick leaves down from the stem of the plant. This allows the plant to close the hole faster, leading to less water loss. Herbs can be harvested multiple times over a season, but only if you do not overharvest. Try to wait at least three days before picking leaves again.

Popular choices are garlic, ginger, rosemary, parsley, sage, and mint.

Growing peppermint in here is great because it keeps peppermint from traveling. Once peppermint takes root in your yard or garden, it grows like crazy and you’ll never get rid of it.

You will also get algea and other green weed seeds germinating and growing.

Some soil already has fertilizer built in, if that is the case, no plant food is required until you see the leaves start to get yellow around the edges. That would be up to 1.5 months after you plant your plant. You’ll only need to water it until this point.

Sew a band of heavy fabric at the top of the shoe organizer so that it forms a tube and slide a rod through it before you attach it to the wall. This will reduce the risk of your hooks slicing through the shoe organizer.

You can put plastic bags with holes in shoe organizers that have porous pockets. This will help retain moister.

When planting or transplanting your seeds, use a light, well-drained soil to grow your seeds in. When preparing the soil, add just a “dash” of compost and bone meal to ensure good drainage as well as extra nutrients. You’ll discover as you grow a larger variety of herbs that many herbs grow best in an alkaline soil. Add a tablespoon or two of agricultural lie to the soil. This helps the roots to absorb nutrients more efficiently. All of these compounds and nutrients get mixed into the hole in the soil before planting the herbs in your garden.


Suzanne Forsling Gutter Garden

Another way to get your crops off the ground and into the light by afixing gutters to the wood siding of a house or building on the sunny side and using them as planters. Great space saving idea.