Monday, February 9, 2009

Watch Out for Killer Compost!

That is the title of a report by Cheryl Long and Barbara Pleasant in the new bookazine, Mother Earth News - Guide to Growing Your Own Food.

I just bought this gem a few days ago and I love it. It is filled with great articles about how to garden better. Many great topics like organic pest control, seed starting basics, preserving your harvest and container gardening are covered. I enjoyed them all but this one little half page article jumped out at me most of all.

It documents Dow chemical's marketing of the herbicide Aminopyralid as a control of perennial weeds in horse and cattle pastures. It also spells out how the U.S. EPA has approved it even after a previous Dow chemical herbicide, clopyralied (Confront) was found to be the contaminant in compost that killed garden and nursery plants in Washington, Pennsylvania and New Zealand.

The major problem with Aminopyralied is that Dow's own research showed that Aminopyralid is expected to remain in manure for over a year! Many times there is enough herbicide residue even in the composted manure to kill tomatoes and other vegetable crops. This is a real concern for organic gardeners like me who rely heavily on compost and often acquire manure from elsewhere.

Dow's Aminopyralid was associated with the loss of thousands of home gardens in Great Britain last year! If you are always searching for compost ingredients like me, be careful where you get your manure. The Authors of this piece warn us to ask questions about safety before buying manure or compost that contains manure.

They end the article with these words about this problem: "Alert your friends and local composting facilities - gardeners work too hard to lose their food to corporate greed and government loopholes." I agree! That is why I am doing what they advise by telling all of you - my gardening friends.

Pick up a copy of Mother Earth News - Guide to Growing Your Own Food for more details. The article I'm referencing will make you angry, but the rest of the bookazine will cause you to get excited for the promise of the new season ahead. Just watch out for killer compost!

Thanks Cheryl and Barbara for this warning.


The Cheap Vegetable Gardener

Scary since I am in Washington, yet another good reason I am glad I make my own compost.


You know things are bad when even the poo you get for compost could be toxic!

Thanks for the heads up!

Wheeler's Rabbit Hill Farm

Thanks for the heads up!

Chiot's Run

Yet another reason to go local and make your own or get it from a local organic farm.

Jan (ThanksFor2Day)

Scary. Makes me wonder if even some organic farms and those that ship to grocery stores to sell their organic food might have these problems and not even know about it.

Margaret's Ramblings

We in the UK had a dreadful problem with Aminopyralied last year. Some have been told that their gardens and allotments will be unusable for up to three years. BRITISH RESIdents sent a massive petition to parliament demanding action. The UK government dropped all action after the fertizing company withdrew their product from the market after blaming farmers for not reading the small print. This stuff is a dreadful problem so be very careful. It gets into the compost after it passes threw the animals digestive system. Their dung is then used as compost and is sold by garden centres to us as compost. Be very aware. Margaret

Sydney Plumber

Nice post...Great work keep it up...


V Scary, spescially if its in commercially sold compost too. It's tough finding out what could be in any manure you can get hold of.

Use your own - humanure to increase your volume!

Ottawa Gardener

Good to know. Thankfully there are horse stables and other facilities that I can get compost from and now shall endeavour to do so every time (along with my homemade stuff).

Thanks for the heads up.


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