Organic vs Chemical

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by Wolvie150, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    I am interested in organic, as the first poster was, primarily for efficiency & practicality. However, in my business, I also became educated for chemical apps. I am not yet certified, but I can bring a higher level of effectiveness and detail to the organics. I also have other previous education and training toward these concerns.
    Would any one be interested in a forum (or perhaps sub-forum) that would discuss the practicality of an organic vs chemical solution, the chemistry of the applications, practical tricks of the trade (i.e. timing cycles), etc.?

    Thanks,
    Peace,
    Wolvie150
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The process is called IPM (integrated pest management). It integrates the use of pesticides, organic in nature or not and the use of cultural controls. The pro's and con's would be different in most every situation.

    Just because its organic does not mean its altogether safer. Consider the LD50 (oral) of Diazinon (I know, not available anymore but its a product most people can remember) and the LD50 (oral) of Rotenone.
     
  3. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    Yes, I was aware of the academic concept of IPM, and how it is the responsibility of the person to use various techniques. But as a person in the field, one learns that there are always more options than those that are promoted by the industry, or that industry members may be aware of for their area. Also, one learns that a significant portion of the applicators, at least in the lawn care industry, are not as concerned with accuracy, precision, cleanliness, and proper application.
    I was interested in a forum designed specifically to introducing new, or mainstream alternatives. This would allow for greater brainstorming of how to fully integrate it, along the concerns it may bring. Most of the local sources in my area right now are the "organic = healthy = save the earth" types, aware of some information, but in no way truly educated in chemistry, biology, math, or the scientific methodology. I though here there would be more options for advanced discussions.
     
  4. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I'm interested in:

    1.) Organic controls for chewing insects. I've had an especially pesky year with kadydids and grasshoppers on my ornamentals.

    2.) Mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial soil microorganisms in potting soil mixes.

    Thanks!
     
  5. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    for the chewing insects, lace bugs, lady bugs, and braconid wasps, preying mantis, & toadies at night. There are a few designs out there (heavy on mint, yellow & white cosmos , and bachlors's buttons. I'm sure there are others, just look through books at library or 'net.
    Luck,
    Wolvie
     
  6. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    mycorrhizal fungi can lay dormant when the spores are dried on a medium such as vermiculite, I believe the introduction of moisture (that would be found on a potting medium) would awaken the little fellows.

    As for the mycorrizae story, I sometimes use them (a blend of endo and ecto) on sites if the soil has been fallow for a long time (6 months or more), in landscaped sites with relatively diverse plantings I feel that the organisms would already be present, augmenting their population locally likely isnt that effective. I do recommend their use for woody plants in sterilized or inert soils though, IE pots and planters filled with store bought packaged 'soil'.
     
  7. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    Groovy, thanks! was unaware of two types - I had just been blindly buying one without full research. A brand suggested by fellow organic-semi chem Master Gardener at my local extension center. Something more to look into deeper, but oh so much to learn on these types of little unique organisms!!
     
  8. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I've been doing some research, and here is an interesting story of a nursery in Holland that has switched to completely organic methods using a product called EM (Effective Microorganisms). This is a coctail of yeasts, molds, mycorrize, and bacteria that is "activated" by brewing it almost like beer. Used to control all pests, diseases, provide nutrients and to stimulate growth.

    The story is quite interesting. This is one of the most famous nursery operations in Europe (they have a collection of over 700 kinds of Japanese Maples!), and was on the brink of collapse because of the over-use of chemicals and other environmental pollutants. The owner had a Japanese horticulturalist, which developed EM, come out and switch his entire operation to organic methods. See links on his "Our plants are ecologically grown" page.

    I found a source for EM here in the US and am going to try some out...

    EM Source:
    http://www.emamerica.com

    ESVELD Nursery:
    http://www.esveld.nl/codes/engels/eme.htm
     
  9. theManicGardener

    theManicGardener Member

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    That is fascinating, Kaitain.

    Back to your opening query, Wolvie--I'm also concerned with the need for a more scientific approach to organic methods, because without that, it won't be feasible to make an industry-wide shift to them, and it's not going to be possible to persuade unconvinced people to adopt them. The local people you mention are essentially already sold on organics--but it doesn't sound as if they know enough to convince anyone else who's not already leaning in that direction.

    I'm not a scientist, but I try hard to get solid evidence in the articles I write for a local organic gardening business. One way I tackle the problem you're discussing is by refusing to quote "green" organizations--not because I don't trust them, but because I want to be able to convince other people who might not trust them. I always try to track information back to either a university or a reputable gov't group.

    For instance, when working on an organic lawn article recently, I did a lot of research on the effect of pesticides, and instead of quoting the many environmental groups that often say that pesticides cause various health problems, for example, I quoted a City of Toronto Board of Health study, the US EPA, and the Nat'l Cancer Institute in Maryland.

    Okay, more than enough about me--is this at all the sort of thing you're interested in? Because I would love to be trading some real information with folks on such topics!
    --kate
     
  10. trimnut2

    trimnut2 Member

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    Yep, following on from the initial post by jimmyq with the follow ups from Wolvie 150, Kaitain et al two points:

    I support what is being raised here: that is a more informed discussion about organics is required. I do not support the associated idea that a new format is required. Why not have that discussion right here?

    Manic Gardener: your comments belie your name. Attitudes express through an example that is far from manic. Thanks.
     
  11. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    sounds a little too good to be true to me, how would one product accomplish all these tasks ?

    provide nutrients? all you can do is provide minerals, the plant makes its nutrients via photosynthesis.

    control ALL pests and diseases? seems a little of a broad stroke to paint. Does it kill ALHB? EAB? P. ramorum? If it does I can tell you of about 300 nurseries and 4 or 5 US states that would LOVE to get ahold of some rather large quantities.

    FWIW I had a brief look at the corporate website you posted a link to, I didnt see any obvious claims of pest reduction. I did check out the testimonials (under agriculture) and saw only one, from a seed store in honolulu, the phone number area code was listed as 818, funny, I have family that lives there and their area code is 808... 818 is the san fernando valley. ;)

    I am being hyperbolic of course but I get irked when I see posts or claims of this nature that arent very substantiated.

    Consider the hype one website can accomplish, has anyone heard of the perils of dihydrogen monoxide? http://www.dhmo.org/

    I say this toungue in cheek, I have used and believe that things like compost tea, sea kelp extracts and other products have their merits and uses but the snake oil can stay on the wagon in my books.
     
  12. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Hmmm. Well, I think you're taking my comments a little too literally, and I don't claim to be an expert, but EM is not just ONE product its a whole cocktail of microorganisms that perform a number of functions. As far as nutrients, I suppose its more accurate to say it aids in the absorption of nutrients, chemicals, minerals - however you wish to label them. You brew EM almost like beer and then apply to the plants.

    I don't think this is "snake oil" at all. The nursery I mentioned in Holland is one of the biggest and well known, and I'm quite familiar with their story. I don't think they would survive very long if this stuff wasn't working for them. They swear by it. I'm ordering some EM from the American supplier, and will try it out. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
     
  13. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    cool. bench test it in a scientific method with controls etc, if it is the cure all, I will buy the rights to canadian distribution. ;)

    One would think though, that if it has such a huge benefit to worldwide agriculture that there would be more than one testimonial from a seed store in Honolulu?
     
  14. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    It looks like the testimonials are from EM distributors. There are a number of videos, however, that show customer applications. I don't think EM America has been around very long - I think this is much bigger in Europe and the East.

    If you go to the Esveld site you can dig into more info through the web sites of the European distributors.

    Who knows, Canada may be wide open!
     
  15. theManicGardener

    theManicGardener Member

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    I thought I replied here a couple of weeks ago, but I guess not.

    Trimnut2, thanks for the kind words; I'm a little more restrained at the keyboard than in the garden.

    Kaitain4--You say you're quite familiar with the story of the nursery in the Netherlands. I poked around their site a bit, and could only find one page on their use of EM, which gives no details whatsoever. Can you tell me where to find out more?

    Thanks--

    Kate
     
  16. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Does this organic gardening also include the use of animals as a control. Example chickens and using fish in ponds for mosquito control. Or is this simply the use of organic compounds such as rhubarb tea to get rid of aphid?

    In my case I use fish (gold) to keep my rain water holding area healthy. Chickens (4) are allowed to roam a half acre garden and help with snail control and appear to have cleaned up codling moth from my ancient apple trees. Now I just have to control the possums (climbing marsupial) and the parrots and I will have apples again. I do have a couple of methods that are mechanical such as night solar lights for the possums and reflective foil and dead CD discs for the parrots. I use manures from my goats and geese and chickens to help build up my compost pile for my worms to make into great food for the vegetables. I try companion planting but am not religious. I contend with dry (drought conditions) by mulching. I don't have a neat and ordered garden more ofa bad hair day type but iti s colourful, produces food and grows very well (almost too well) and it is done on the organic principal. I certainly do not use articficial fertilizers or chemicals except roundup to get rid of some blackberries I could not risk the goats getting into the area. I cut them give the goats the branches then paint the stems. I am looking forward to this thread. Please continue......

    Liz
     
  17. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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  18. theManicGardener

    theManicGardener Member

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    About Round-up: the primary "active" ingredient in Round-up, glysophate, is not the major concern. One study by the Commonwealth (i.e., state) of Massachusetts found this:

    "Aquatic Species (Fish) Technical glyphosate and the formulation Roundup have been tested on various fish species. Roundup is more toxic than glyphosate, and it is the surfactant that is considered to be the primary toxic agent in Roundup."

    Another, conducted by researchers at the University of Caen and reported in Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 113, Number 6, June 2005, included the observation that "Surprisingly, Roundup is always more toxic than its active ingredient." (That sentence was in the abstract.)

    The problem, here in the US at least, is that according to the EPA guidelines governing package labeling, "inert" has nothing to do with the generally understood meaning of the word as "chemically inert." According to EPA guidelines, the "active" ingredient, which must be identified on the container, is the one (or ones) that actually kill the bugs, or the weeds, or whatever. Anything else is designated "inert," no matter how chemically active it may be.

    I don't know what the labelling laws in Australia and Canada are, but I'd be curious if a container of Round up looks different in one of those places than it does here.

    If it's possible to get glysophate that's not in Round-up, that would (probably) be a far better way to go. The French study found that Round-up had an effect (not a good one) on certain human placental cells at doses 10 times lower than those recommended for agricultural use.

    --Kate
     
  19. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I for one like Round-up. It is a great week killer, works without sterilizing the ground. As for Round-up and fish, I don't think that is much of a concern. Roundup is sure a lot safer to use than many herbicides. However, if one disagrees, they can always go back to the hoe. - Millet
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  20. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    I have to agree, living next door to someone who cultivates morning glory.
     
  21. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I agree whole heartedly.
    The problem with a democracy is that it relies too heavily on the "popular vote" and too little on reason.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  22. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Kate,

    Regarding Esveld - I can't remember where I found the information about their switch to EM. I looked at the one pager you found and it was definitely more than that. Perhaps it was something from the Maple Society? Sorry, memory is going with age, I'm afraid. I'll try to dig around some more...


    K4
     
  23. theManicGardener

    theManicGardener Member

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    I've been trying to decide whether this got posted on the wrong thread, and finally decided maybe not; Bob, are you saying that the "popular vote" is against Roundup and similar products, and that the reasonable stance is to use them? If so, I'd have to disagree.

    In the States, at least, the "popular vote" is still very much in favor of pesticides and herbicides. As for reason, well, people will disagree on that one, but the sources I cited might lead some, at least, to conclude that it's more reasonable NOT to use the stuff, at least not as freely or frequently as many of us do, given its toxicity.

    Kaitain4--Thanks for trying. I know what you mean about the memory going. If it comes back to you, let me know.
    --Kate
     
  24. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    That's another undertaking in a democracy. "Entitlement to opinion."
    I have done as much reading as I feel the need to and have come to an entirely different conclusion.

    Not withstanding, you are within your rights to think what you like.
    I don't wish to incite a protracted debate over the data so I am happy to just observe that things are not always what they seem.

    Cheers

    Bob
     
  25. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    I agree with both of these, but from both sides...

    The first one, a surfactant is a molecular chain that matches to one specific or a general type of chemical chains, while the other 'sticks' to surfaces through molecular friction. If you over-spray** round-up, there will be excessive amounts of this substance, causing there to be a higher chance to regularly and easily hit levels of critical minimum toxicity in the given species.
    But then again, if you keep piling manure somewhere, all the time, you end up with '....' too.

    The last statement? Sounds frightening, but would like to see actual research. Straight glysophate? I would at least check to see what kind of stabilizers you need. Or perhaps just find a different surfactant - dish soap?????

    ** Here I am using over-spray to mean unintentional as well as intentional. Perhaps someone's perception of "just misted" for example is different than the author meant, the company may suggest higher than necessary but within 'safe' limits to increase sales, as well as the intentional misuse.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008

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