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Handsomeryan
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webmaster wrote:there is so much information and misinformation out there that it might take more than trying to influence public opinion.
This goes for both sides. I'm new here but I've come across many posts here bashing traditional agriculture when it's brought up and using phrases like "toxic cancer causing poisons" to describe any non-organic agro-chemical. I find it hard to believe that everyone who posts to this website has an in depth understanding of organic chemistry and cellular biology to make such claims. Yes, its cool that people have access to the MSDS sheets for chemicals but there is more to it than just a page or two of basic data.

The average homeowner may be able to spray indiscriminately with whatever they can get their hands on at whatever dilusion rate they feel like mixing but I speak for all Ag professionals when I say that we take chemical application very seriously and many precautions are taken to ensure that what we spray is doing as little harm as is possible to the environment and to the people who will come in contact with our crops. I spend 40+ hours a week in my greenhouse breathing the air and touching the foliage, do you think I want to wallow in poisons or carcinogens?!
Gardening is mostly an issue of your enthusiasm holding up until you get used to the work.

Dixana
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Very well stated Mr. Webmaster :)
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
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stella1751
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Two quick thoughts:
  • 1) I suspect I have confused Monsanto with Scott. After reading Applestar's a.m. post yesterday, I got online and researched Monsanto. It's all about GMO's, not Miracle Gro. After making this posting, I will research Scott. I respect everyone's opinion in this forum, so much so that I do feel a twinge of guilt when I satisfy my annual MG fix by purchasing an economy bag for indoor use. I think I should know, though, why I am feeling guilty :oops:

    2) Dixana, a friend once told me that the best way to get rid of an unwanted weed in a garden bed is to use an artist's paintbrush. Dip it in the weed killer, and paint the weed's leaves. I'm betting you have bindweed. I've heard the roots on that go 6' (or more) deep. From experience I can say that if you pull it, it just comes back. In my Shepherd book (I think), the author says that if you pull a weed with a super-long root like that every time it comes back, it will eventually die from nutritional deficiencies or some such thing. IMO, that doesn't work with bind weed.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Dixana
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I have bindweed too, I just rip that out whenever I see it and try to smother it with paper.. The vine is actually a runner from a tree that I can't remember the name of for the life of me. It has two different leaves on it and comes up ALL OVER including under in and around the foundation of the house, garage, and shed. It appears to have given up the porch area but is returning in force around the house foundation on the south side. Thankfully it is no longer going to be my problem because we're moving, I just wish I knew WHEN!

And yes, Scotts is a different animal, I think there's several posts here on HG about it. It's too hard to find and post the links from my phone though. Monsanto is big farms big corporations, GMO's, etc. Scotts is big box store, anyone can buy it type stuff.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
-Gandhi

Charlie MV
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Marlingardener wrote:Lordy, Charlie, MG is Miracle Gro! No relation, not kin that I know of, and like most of the kin I do know of, I wouldn't claim it with a prize attached.

Yours faithfully,
Marlingardener

[img][img]https://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd5/charliemv/iloveitwhenaplancomestogether.jpg[/img][/img]


This all makes my head hurt. I'm going to cook some compost.

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stella1751
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I made my semi-annual garden run to Home Depot yesterday. It was hard to walk past the plants. The tomatoes in particular looked tempting! I'm starting everything from seeds this year, though, so I forced myself to walk past. Should I find I have extra space in June, I might return . . .

I bought two bales of peat moss, one bag of Miracle Gro, one 15 lb bag of bone meal, three bags of cheap topsoil for the bed I over-amended last year (the cheap topsoil up here is nothing more than pale, lifeless dirt), one gallon of fish fertilizer, a watering nozzle, and a brand new 100' hose.

Which purchase made me feel the most guilty? The hose. The old one, 75' of plastic, will wind up in the municipal landfill. How much petroleum was expended in the production of both? How much fuel was expended and air pollution caused in the composition, shaping, and molding of both?

Every item I purchased was bound by, contained in, or constructed with plastic. That bothers me considerably more than the peat moss and the Miracle Gro. Again, it's all in your individual priorities. IMO, the other purchases made a comparatively negligible impact on the environment. That hose, though, well, that's something to be ashamed of.

It could have been worse. I talked myself out of buying the three 6" x 2" boards I need to finish two new garden beds, telling myself I could piece together scraps I have on hand 8)
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Charlie MV
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Stella, when I played "The Old Rugged Cross" on my harmonica my dog would give me the exact same look and head tip as the dog in your picture. Then she would sing [howl] along.

trinoc
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I'm so glad I read this thread! The hose uses, alone, would have been worth it but all of the other information I found very helpful.

This is my 2nd year gardening and hopefully it will be my first successful year. I am striving for an organic garden but am working really hard not to allow myself to become guilt ridden or even legalistic in my efforts. For example, I did not buy organic seeds. It didn't even occur to me until I saw them somewhere, after mine were already in the ground. I have not used any chemicals or enhanced soils but I have to be perfectly honest in stating that part of the reason is cost. Manure was MUCH cheaper than MG soil. It's been fascinating to me that it's cheaper to garden organically but it's more expensive to buy it at the store. I do understand it's because of the cost of the extra labor and lower yield but I'm excited to know that I will get the benefit of the high flavor of homegrown organic vegetables w/o the cost of the specialty markets.

I'm now eager to see how the different vibes play out across the board.

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farmerlon
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Handsomeryan wrote:... No one is stopping you from having an organic garden in your back yard but to feed the world population organic gardening is not efficient. It is more expensive and labor intensive and still has lower yields. The low cost of conventionally farmed foods is what has allowed us as Americans to enjoy such a high quality of living...
Is that really true?
It's very possible that I have a lot more to learn about this subject... but your theory gives me pause.

I think the relatively high standard of living currently enjoyed my most of the world, and the marked increase in human population, is the result of 100+ years of the utilization of cheap energy (oil). Agriculture has "rode the coattails" of that energy boom.
As that energy source becomes more scarce, the "efficiency" it provides may eventually have a much higher cost than organics. I'm suspicious that the true cost of "conventional" ag is already higher, if the hidden costs are factored in. Those hidden costs might include: soil depletion, environmental damage, obesity, nutritional losses, climate change, healthcare, and so forth.

Lately, I've been reading the book "Farmers of Forty Centuries". That's a refreshing reminder that the peoples of China, Korea, and Japan, fed very large populations for 4,000+ years, using totally organic methods.

To me, the term "conventional" seems odd to apply to our current methods of industrialized agriculture. Compared to the long history of human agricultural endeavors, the "conventional" methods in use now may one day be looked on as only a passing fad.

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stella1751
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Charlie MV wrote:Stella, when I played "The Old Rugged Cross" on my harmonica my dog would give me the exact same look and head tip as the dog in your picture. Then she would sing [howl] along.
First, my apologies to Dixana for this digression. Next, Charlie, that's my Dempsey as a young dog. The tilted head look in his case meant I was doing something he thought had potential for amusement. In this case, I was on my knees to get at a better angle to shoot the photo. As soon as I snapped the photo, he mock-attacked me, knocking me down and pretend-biting me while he laughed like a loon. Like most of us, he took his fun where and when he could find it :lol:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Charlie MV
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Soooo, you never tried to teach him to sing? It's been proven by scientists [somewhere] that singing dogs participate in fewer mock attacks.

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stella1751
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Charlie MV wrote:Soooo, you never tried to teach him to sing? It's been proven by scientists [somewhere] that singing dogs participate in fewer mock attacks.
A moderator or the webmaster is gonna get me for this one, but I just can't help myself. It is my life's purpose to ferret out misinformation and straighten records. You need to qualify the above statement. The way it is written, the reader can be forgiven for assuming that all singing dogs participate in fewer mock attacks, which isn't the case.

If you are talking about the study conducted by Rin Tin Les and Lassie Paul at the Weimaraner Institute, then an accurate summary of their study would include their conclusion that genre played a huge role in restricting mock attacks. Classic rock, Billboard Top 40, Country Western, Blue Grass, and Rhythm and Blues were indeed credited with diminished mock attacks and, in the cases of the Bluetick and Redbone Coonhounds, an increased tendency to lie in the sun while reflecting upon the meaning of life.

Bull dog mixes like Dempsey generally prefer rap, hip hop, or heavy metal. Les and Paul determined that singing tunes from these genres elevates the blood pressure, making these type dogs more disposed toward mock attacks.

Just setting the record straight, lest owners of dogs like Dempsey rush to make appointments for canine singing lessons 8)
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Charlie MV
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Gawd Stella, you remind me of the time I tried to sip water from a fire hose. :shock:

Is there really a Weimaraner Institute? You're just taking advantage of the slow here... right?


And the moderators will always leave you alone if you mention Les Paul in a post. It's Rand Paul that will get you zapped.

Dixana
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OMG Charlie you never cease to make me LOL.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
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cynthia_h
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Charlie MV wrote:Soooo, you never tried to teach him to sing? It's been proven by scientists [somewhere] that singing dogs participate in fewer mock attacks.
I should think the self-evident logic of this statement would stand on its own. For shame, Stella.... Although I do thank you for the supporting information from the Weimaraner Inst. Who could impugn Rin Tin Les?!

However:

If a dog is singing ("singing dogs"), it is incapable of participating in a mock attack ("participate in fewer mock attacks"). Singing requires good breath and diaphragmatic support, functions which are essential in mock attacks. Tsk, tsk. :wink:


OK. Back to the original subject of this discourse:

Farmers in the Punjab have stated that they cannot continue with the industrial, Western ways which have polluted their groundwater and dried up their soil, yielding a wasteland (source: [url=https://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/cheap-food/bourne-text/6]National Geographic[/url]):

"Today, though, the miracle of the green revolution is over in Punjab: Yield growth has essentially flattened since the mid-1990s. Overirrigation has led to steep drops in the water table, now tapped by 1.3 million tube wells, while thousands of hectares of productive land have been lost to salinization and waterlogged soils. Forty years of intensive irrigation, fertilization, and pesticides have not been kind to the loamy gray fields of Punjab. Nor, in some cases, to the people themselves."

The entire article looks at industrial agriculture and traditional ways. It also looks at biotech from the point of view of its advocates (a representative from Monsanto) and its opponents (e.g., Michael Pollan).

Pollan also forecasts the future trend of agriculture. In an [url=https://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/cheap-food/bourne-text/11]extended quote[/url] from the article (which I was pleased to read when it arrived in "person" at our house in 2009), here's what the author summarizes and what Pollan then says:

"The green revolution's legacy of tainted soil and depleted aquifers is one reason to look for new strategies. So is what author and University of California, Berkeley, professor Michael Pollan calls the Achilles heel of current green revolution methods: a dependence on fossil fuels. Natural gas, for example, is a raw material for nitrogen fertilizers. 'The only way you can have one farmer feed 140 Americans is with monocultures. And monocultures need lots of fossil-fuel-based fertilizers and lots of fossil-fuel-based pesticides,' Pollan says. 'That only works in an era of cheap fossil fuels, and that era is coming to an end. Moving anyone to a dependence on fossil fuels seems the height of irresponsibility.' "

I urge anyone with an interest in agricultural technology, food production, the future of food production, and other related topics to read the *entire* National Geographic article. Please be sure to read the related topics: the photo gallery and captions, "How we did it before," and other sidebars. The entire story is a stunner. It begins with the food riots in Egypt and elsewhere in 2008/09 and examines why the price of food went through the roof for so many of the world's people.

Maximizing our own personal production and sharing any excess (if we have excess) may seem like a drop in the bucket, but many drops do make a difference.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

(edited for punctuation error)
Last edited by cynthia_h on Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

tedln
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Gosh Stella,

I didn't realize you and I both value logic over emotion. I've enjoyed this thread. I'm leaving now to check out the tomato growing forum while folks are trying to throw their laptops at me. :roll:

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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stella1751
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cynthia_h wrote: I should think the self-evident logic of [Charlie MV's] statement would stand on its own. For shame, Stella.... Although I do thank you for the supporting information from the Weimaraner Inst. Who could impugn Rin Tin Les?!

However:

If a dog is singing ("singing dogs"), it is incapable of participating in a mock attack ("participate in fewer mock attacks"). Singing requires good breath and diaphragmatic support, functions which are essential in mock attacks. Tsk, tsk. :wink:
I will concede that Dempsey cannot and does not attack when he is rapping, especially when he is belting out his all time favorite: Snoop Dogg's "(Tear 'em Off) Me and My Doggz" from The Doggfather album.

Nevertheless, once the fat dog has sung, I issue an orange drool alert and cover my face with my hands :lol:
cynthia_h wrote:OK. Back to the original subject of this discourse:

Farmers in the Punjab have stated that they cannot continue with the industrial, Western ways which have polluted their groundwater and dried up their soil, yielding a wasteland (source: [url=https://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/cheap-food/bourne-text/6]National Geographic[/url]):
I have glanced at this article, and it looks fascinating. No time to read it now, but I will definitely dive into it later today. Thanks!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Susan W
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Back to the topic, sorta. I stopped at the grocery today and they have a few plants on racks by the door. I always check out the selection. A security guy was talking to another customer going in, expounding on the garlic chives. He had been grazing on one pot, and then felt obliged to buy it. I chimed in on the merits of garlic chives. She picked up a pot, and I got another (got one a few days ago). Hey, $1.99 5" pot with 3 starts.

It is nothing but good when 3 strangers talk over a pot of chive starts!
Have fun!
Susan

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rootsy
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Organic food production is by all means a noble exploit. I truly see no need for excessive chemical use by the average gardener, or small farmer, especially if they have the time and desire to care for what they have sewn. But to say that modern agriculture (row crops, cotton, canola, etc) could sustain itself at current yields and pricing, organically is inaccurate and in many ways uneducated.

I challenge anyone here to attempt to produce 1000 acres of 200 bu / acre dent corn, organically, by yourself, let alone make a profit. Heck I'll challenge you @ 180 bu / acre. That means a Non GMO seed, untreated, no chemical fertilizers and no pesticides. You're in for a real work experience.

American's spend, on average, less than 20% of their household income on food. A century ago the percentage was double that. America demands cheap, plentiful, bug free, "easy" food and that in a nutshell is why corporations such as Monsanto, Cargil and processed food manufacturers exist. To feed the lazy American citizen... Every one of us here is guilty. The other issue is the size of the average row crop farm as stated above. In the Midwest, a 1000 acres isn't far off the "average" for farm size. For those who can't visualize what 1000 acres is, there is 640 acres in a square mile. Profit / acre is so dilute that a farmer must run more acreage to make a living wage. The good + the bad average and hopefully he / she comes out ahead.

At this time with high commodity prices (which is going to result in wallet injury at the grocery store soon) people may think that farmers are raking it in. But by next year, if pricing is sustained, every input and seed supplier will jack up their pricing for no apparent reason just to get their piece of the pie. The problem then is that when commodity prices fall input prices won't... Much like gasoline... Up fast, down slow. It happened 3 / 4 years ago when Corn broke the $4 mark... Now we have corn in excess of $6 / bu.

Farming is a business and a business exists to provide a good or service and to generate a profit for it's owners. Plain and simple. Don't blame a farmer for using legally available products and technology to grow his business and reduce his risk. After all, all of the modern GMO seed options and chemicals exist to do just that. Blame the people who create the products and the gov't agencies that are supposed to police them. Who do you think runs them? It sure isn't the average "farmer" but instead, generally, ex-executives of major corporations.

Every farmer I know or have ever known took great pride in their operation. Implementing the best tillage & planting practices for their land in order to maintain soil structure and fertility. After all, better land and fertility management reduces the need for chemicals which come right out of the bottom line. Any chemical use has to be documented and in order to purchase and apply most Ag chemicals you must be licensed. Each chemical has a label that strictly spells out safety precautions, mixing ratios and what the chemical may be applied on. Farmers take this seriously, it is their livelihood and can result in stiff fines if caught breaking the law. I doubt most back yard gardeners buying some glyphosate from Walmart bother to mix strictly by the label and apply in the appropriate amount of carrier over a fixed area.

You cannot compare gardening, hobby farming, truck farming, etc to the modern farm that employs it's owner(s) full time and is responsible for feeding millions rather than a family. It is truly apples and oranges. What is the answer? More labor? Reduced yields? Higher end product prices? Strip it all and even Gov't subsidizing to artificially maintain lower commodity pricing won't be able to control the inflation.

If you want a real kicker of progress... RR sweetcorn should be commercially available from Monsanto by fall... You won't be able to buy it in the store or in small quantities though. Bet its in the $650+ / bag (80K kernel) price range. Watch for it to be stacked onto the Bt "Attribute" corn already available to commercial growers in the next few years, if not already.

All in the name of progress, but at what cost? Most of these products have not been on the market long enough to provide adequate data for long term studies of effects.

More food for thought :)

tedln
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Good comments rootsy!

My personal thought is that the entire scenario is a result of people not thinking logically when they decide it is better to operate their vehicles on ethanol than crude oil products. Lets punish those evil oil companies who have been polluting our world and reward those big chemical/agricultural companies who only pollute our world with engineered food and pesticides. Was it George Orwell or Ayn Rand who first wrote about the evils of "Group Think"?

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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stella1751
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tedln wrote: Was it George Orwell or Ayn Rand who first wrote about the evils of "Group Think"?

Ted
Wow. I had to look this one up. That is a fascinating concept, one I've never heard of, one I'd like to learn more about.

From [url=https://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm]What Is Groupthink[/url]
Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgmentâ€
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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TheWaterbug
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stella1751 wrote:I need to be educated to what Monsanto has done. I've never studied its methods. Although I feel guilty buying my bag of MG each year (I'll be purchasing the 2011 bag on Monday), I'm not sure why I feel guilty.
As a forum n00b I'm a bit frightened to post this :D, but since the debate's already raging, I'll go ahead.

PSA: Miracle Gro Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables is on special at Home Depot for [url=https://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100355778/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053]$4.77 per 2 cf bag.[/url] That's less than the standard price for the 1 cf bag. The 2 cf bag is normally $7.77.

Anyway I just went out and bought a few bags. I won't tell anyone how many :D. I'm going to go hide from the torches and pitchforks now.

DoubleDogFarm
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stella1751 wrote:
I need to be educated to what Monsanto has done. I've never studied its methods. Although I feel guilty buying my bag of MG each year (I'll be purchasing the 2011 bag on Monday), I'm not sure why I feel guilty.

As a forum n00b I'm a bit frightened to post this , but since the debate's already raging, I'll go ahead.

PSA: Miracle Gro Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables is on special at Home Depot for $4.77 per 2 cf bag. That's less than the standard price for the 1 cf bag. The 2 cf bag is normally $7.77.

Anyway I just went out and bought a few bags. I won't tell anyone how many . I'm going to go hide from the torches and pitchforks now.
I'm at the point that I don't even care. Poly thinking, Mono thinking. In the end this is only a gardening forum.

WTF Eric

tedln
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Good point Eric!

It is a gardening forum and the part I enjoy is when we are discussing gardening.

While I agree that most large corporations will lie, steal, and cheat to make a profit, the opposite side will lie, steal, and cheat to make their point. I was once called a cynic on this forum. It didn't bother me because I considered it a compliment. After thinking about it, I realized I am not a cynic, I am a skeptic. It is fairly easy to recognize when a company is selling an inferior product, but it is less easy to recognize the doctored data and studies from the other side for what it is. I read many "educated opinions" on this forum. When I apply my filter of skepticism, I can usually determine fact from fiction. The sad part is the fact that the Corporations see no moral dichotomy in their efforts to maximize profits and the opposite side totally believes their not so factual data and studies. The average person is caught in the middle not knowing what to believe.

How is your garden growing?

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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