I’ve been noticing that when you begin to organic garden, it opens a floodgate of horror. You discover there is not one thing that humans have touched that they haven’t contaminated.
If you want to use permaculture or raised bed gardens with sheet mulching, you discover the contaminants in newspaper, cardboard, grass clippings, wood chips, manure, and on and on.
In all the years at the garden club, apparently no one ever asked the source and treatment of the animals where the manure came from (or so I was told). I assumed it was bison (buffalo) since they are on the property. But It’s from a horse stable and it was free. Most seemed content with that information. Not me. I wanted to know the horse’s diets. They are fed GMO corn (you can bet there’s Roundup in their food, grown with it, around and in the plants) and grains (and maybe even hay), given antibiotics (though not routine) and de-wormers (vermicides). Do you know what this crap does to the soil? Well? It’s not pretty.
A gardening teacher told our class that Roundup has a 22 year half life. This can be hotly disputed. It can be re-activated if phosphorus is increased in the soil. The first signs are yellowed plants, wilting, slow growth and death. I finally realized why all my plants, regardless of how I babied them when putting them in the soil, had turned yellow. Most recovered – some shorter and some took longer – but some didn’t.
I was told that a very small amount of water softener could be added to the soil to neutralize the Roundup. My husband is skeptical, so I’m not sure we’ll even try, because he says it’s toxic too.
And we haven’t even gotten to the type of seeds, how they were grown, if they are open pollinated, hybrids or GMO, and all the crap they may have been exposed to. Nor the pesticides that people put on crops, even the alleged organic ones!
This article (below) is geared towards horse meat, but the pharmaceuticals and vermicides are in the manure. This goes into the soil, which kills microbes. Sure, some worms may survive, but how many and what is their health? These substances go into plants, and we wonder why there are super resistant bacteria outbreaks from eating raw plant materials like spinach or cantaloupe.
From the above article, “The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue have filed legal petitions with both the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to block companion, working and show horses from being slaughtered for human consumption, due to the associated health risks. The petition documents more than 110 examples of drugs and other substances which are, or potentially should be, prohibited in food-producing horses”
And guess what, the horse stable where we get the manure is a team of show horses.
So exactly what does one do when every source is contaminated? Kitchen scraps need to be organic vegetables and fruits, otherwise you’re introducing more pesticides, petroleum products (the waxes) and who knows what else into your organic soil production. Worm castings could be another choice, again keeping the food scraps organic.
Our water supplies are contaminated, loaded with chemicals, heavy metals, fluoride and chlorine. Rain water is not a lot better, but somewhat. Remember, it cleans the atmosphere. So car exhaust and factory chemicals that are let into the air come into your water source. So unless you’re prepared to put a filter on your water supply, there’s no getting around this one.
If you get wood chips, try to be sure it’s from trees that haven’t been sprayed or died due to disease.
Seeds should be organic, open-pollinated heirloom seeds.
Our first year in the garden has been very expensive considering we thought it would cost next to nothing. We haven’t even implemented my suggestions, we can’t afford to do so. But wherever we finally settle (when Daniel gets a permanent job), we’ll be investing in a garden for the long term.