Dirt Doctor s DIRT May 2007 - The Dirt Doctor

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Dirt Doctor s DIRT May 2007 - The Dirt Doctor Powered By Docstoc
					                                                         Organic Erosion                         Catastrophic Bee
                                                         By Jake Whitney                         Population Decline May
                                                                                                 Be Related to Bt-Spliced
                                                                                                 GMO Crops




1 Note from Howard
    Vinegar Update

3 No Room in the Whole Foods
    Lifestyle for High Fructose Corn
    Syrup
    By Dr. Kellie Lancaster            A recent question from a member got       plants, but it works much better when
                                       me thinking about confusion that still    mixed with seaweed, molasses and
4 Air Layering for Woody and Other     exists about vinegars. Here’s the         compost tea creating Garrett Juice.
    Hard To Root Plants
                                       question and the update.
6 Catastrophic Bee Population                                                    I no longer recommend 20% vinegar
    Decline May Be Related to Bt-      Can you please tell me why there is       or stronger vinegars at all. They are far
    Spliced GMO Crops                  vinegar in Garrett Juice? All of your     too strong, cost too much and most of
                                       books, etc. say that vinegar is what      if is made by diluting 99% glacial acid
7 Are Mobile Phones Wiping out our     you use to KILL plant-life – and it       which is a petroleum derived product. I
    Bees?                              being an anti-microbial, etc. I’m new     have tried to talk suppliers of organic
    By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet       at using Garrett Juice and                products to stop selling this stuff, but
    Shawcross                          gardening, and really don’t wish to       to date, it is still out there – so beware!
10 Organic Erosion                     injure or make it hard on any of my
    By Jake Whitney                    new plants & seedlings. Thanks for        Vinegar Herbicide
                                       your help. I do love your books,
15 Recognizing Green List Pesticides   your magazine & website. Take             The vinegar herbicide mix can be
    for Use in Texas Schools           care… Julie                               sprayed on grassy and broadleaf
                                                                                 weeds, including those growing from
16 A Victorian Water Garden
                                       Vinegars can be used to kill or to        the bases of trees and other woody
    By Matt Boring
                                       stimulate life and help plants. They      plants. It will not hurt the woody plants
                                       also have many other uses. Vinegars       at all. This technique was first learned
                                       that are 10% (100 grain) or stronger      about by spraying the suckers and
                                       are used to kill pathogens (diseases      weeds growing around the bases of
8   Creature Feature                   on plants) and even unwanted plants.      grapevines.
                                       They should be made from grain
19 Organics in the News
                                       alcohol. Apple cider vinegar (5% or 50    Vinegar Herbicide Formula:
20 Organic Product & Services          grain) on the other hand is used to
                                       stimulate life, provide trace minerals    1 gallon of 10% (grain alcohol) vinegar.
23 Little Sprouts                      and improve health. Apple cider
                                       vinegar functions as a mild fertilizer    1 ounce orange oil or d-limonene.
24 Question & Answers
                                       and lowers pH slightly, helping foliar
                                                                                 1 teaspoon liquid soap or other
26 Monthly Calender                    spray ingredients enter plant tissue
                                                                                 surfactant such as Plant Wash.
                                       and be more effective. It is one of the
27 Plant of the Month                  most important ingredients in Garrett     1 tablespoon molasses.
28 Give a Gift Membership              Juice. This natural apple cider vinegar
                                       can be used by itself at 1-2              Do not add water.
                                       tablespoons per gallon of water when
                                       watering potted
Shake well before each spraying and
spot spray weeds. Keep the spray off        Straight vinegar is also great for
desirable plants. This spray will injure    cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on
any plants it touches. I used to say        and wipe off. Spray on shower doors,
this natural spray works best on warm       walls and floors and it doesn’t have to
to hot days. More recent tests indicate     be wiped off.
that spraying done on overcast or
cooler days might work as well or
better to completely kill the weeds.

Other Uses for Vinegar

Cleaning

Vinegar is a mainstay of the old folk
recipes for cleaning and to kill
bacteria, mold, and germs.




                                            Beautiful Skin Tip: Apple Cider
                                            Vinegar

                                            Excerpted from Anti-Wrinkle
                                            Treatments for Perfect Skin, by Pierre
                                            Jean Cousin.

                                            The use of vinegar with a variety of
Heinz company spokesperson Michael          plants or essential oils for cosmetic
Mullen references numerous studies          purposes can be traced back to the
to show that a straight 5 percent           Romans and was fashionable during
solution of vinegar - such as you can       the nineteenth century as vinegar de
buy in the supermarket - kills 99           toilette. Vinegar has a tonic action that
percent of bacteria, 82 percent of          promotes blood circulation in the small
mold, and 80 percent of germs               capillaries that irrigate the skin. It is
(viruses). He noted that Heinz can't        also antiseptic, preventing the
claim on their packaging that vinegar       proliferation of bacteria, viruses, or
is a disinfectant since the company         yeast that triggers infection. It can
has not registered it as a pesticide        dissolve excessive fatty deposits at
with the Environmental Protection           the surface of the skin and reduce
Agency (EPA). However, it seems to          scaly or peeling conditions. Lastly,
be common knowledge in the industry         vinegar regulates the pH of the skin.
that vinegar is powerfully antibacterial.   Vinegar is most effective when used
                                            with lavender, rosemary, rose, or
Keep a clean spray bottle filled with       elder flower. It is essential to use top-
straight 5 percent apple cider vinegar      quality white wine or cider vinegar.
in your kitchen and your bathroom,
and use them for cleaning. Spray
vinegar on cutting boards before going      To use, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider
to bed at night, and don't even rinse,      to a cup of bottled or spring water to
but let it set overnight. The smell of      wash your face or pour 3-4
vinegar dissipates within a few hours.      tablespoons into a bath.
If that sounds like too much
trouble, just rinse with apple cider
after the shower. That’s what I do.

General Information

Vinegar is a wonderful organic
tool that was discovered by
accident ten thousand years ago         In 1966 Americans consumed NO high           responsible for glycosalation which is
when wine was accidentally              fructose corn syrup (HFCS). By 1970          literally the sugar coating of proteins,
allowed to ferment too long and         we consumed about 10 lbs. a year. In         fats and other constituents of blood,
turned sour. It can be made from        2001, we consumed on average 62.6            making them “sticky” and resulting in
many products, including beer,          lbs. per year! High fructose corn syrup      malfunction. This leads to insulin
apples, berries, beets, corn, fruits,   became a cheap alternative to cane           resistance or Diabetes.
grains, honey, malt, maple syrup,       sugar and sugar beets because corn
melons, molasses, potatoes, rice,       was a subsidized crop and corn syrup         Why do we do this to ourselves? Many
sorghum, and other foods                was much sweeter than sugar. HFCS is         people do this because they simply
containing sugar. Natural sugars        manipulated to be about 80% fructose.        don’t have the facts. They assume that
from these food products are            In nature, most fruits split their glucose   food production companies have their
fermented into alcohol, which is        to fructose ratio. The shift in the ratios   best interest at heart and would use
then fermented into vinegar.            will cause (in moderate doses) liver and     nothing that would harm them. This is
                                        pancreas damage which can lead to            totally untrue. Huge food production
Fruit vinegar is made from the          bone loss, anemia, diabetes and heart        companies and even some smaller
fermentation of a variety of fruits.    problems to name a few.                      ones have one thing in their sights –
Apples are most commonly used,                                                       money. HFCS is cheap, addicting, and
but grapes, peaches, berries and        Researchers from the University of           readily available as a food additive. It is
other fruits also work. The             Minnesota found that men with diets          in many processed foods, all non diet
product label will identify the         high in fructose raise their plasma          soft drinks, many “juice drinks”
starting ingredients, such as           triglycerides by 32%. Furthermore,           marketed to children, salad dressings
“apple cider vinegar” or “wine          fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin           and even pasta sauce.
vinegar”. Malt vinegar is made          secretion or increase leptin. Therefore,
from the fermentation of barley         it is reasonable to assume that it will      How do we avoid this insulting barrage
malt or other cereal grains. Sugar      contribute to excessive accelerated          on our health? By becoming a label
vinegar is made from sugar,             weight gain. This has been proven over       reader, you will find how much HFCS
syrup, or molasses. White, spirit,      and over again as we see the Standard        you are getting. If it is listed as an
or distilled vinegar is made by         American Diet (SAD) high in HFCS and         ingredient, just pass it by. Better yet,
fermenting distilled alcohol.           more than half of the American               quit eating processed foods all
Distilled white vinegar is made         population is overweight.                    together. You will feel better, you will
from 190 proof alcohols that are                                                     loose weight and you will protect your
fermented by adding sugar and           High fructose corn syrup is also             most vital asset - your health.
living bacteria. Natural vinegar
contains at least fifty trace
minerals. Vinegar that is made
from the petroleum derivative,
99% acetic acid, is not acceptable
in an organic program.
                                     1. For wounding woody plants such as
                                     magnolia, gardenia, rose, fig and similar
                                     plants make two parallel cuts about 1 1/2
                                     inches apart around the stem and through
                                     the bark and cambium layer. Connect the
                                     two parallel cuts with one long cut (a) and
                                     remove the ring of bark (b), leaving the
                                     inner woody tissue exposed (c).
Air layering is a useful method of
reproducing plants by producing      For wounding plants having less woody
roots on the stems of shrubs,        stems: (a) make a long upward cut from 1
trees and indoor landscape           1/2 to 2 inches long, almost to the center of
plants. This method, developed       the stem. and (b) Insert a wood sliver,
centuries ago by the Chinese,        toothpick into the wound to hold it open and
has been used successfully as a      prevent cut tissue from reuniting. Rooting
mean of propagating some of the      compounds are unnecessary.
more difficult-to-root plants.


The procedure is to wound the
stem or branch of a plant and        2. Apply a handful of damp well broken
enclose the wounded area with a      down compost so that it envelopes the
moist medium until roots develop     wounded portion of the stem. Tying the
from the wound. Success is           organic material in place with string helps
dependent upon keeping the           keep it in position. The organic material
rooting medium moist until the       should be soaked thoroughly to insure that it
roots are formed and large           is completely moist. Squeeze out surplus
enough to support the new plant.     water, since excessive moisture can result
                                     in decay and deterioration of the plant tissue.

Woody plants frequently
propagated in this manner include
magnolia, holly, camellia, azalea,   3. Use a sheet of polyethylene (plastic) film
Japanese maple and many of the       large enough to cover and wrap the ball of
fruit and nut bearing plants such    organic material using the butchers fold
as citrus, apple, pears and          (see insert) to secure a tight seal where the
pecans.                              two ends of the sheet are joined.

For best results, make air layers
in the spring on shoots produced
during the previous season or in
mid-summer on mature shoots          4. Draw the upper end of the film snugly
from the current season's growth.    around stem making sure that none of the
On woody plants, stems of pencil     compost is exposed. Fasten it securely with
size or larger are best. Thicker     electrician’s tape. Repeat the procedure on
stems on the more herbaceous         the lower end, again making sure there is a
plants.                              snug fit. Moisture must not escape and
                                     excess moisture must not enter from
                                     watering or rain. Some gardeners cover
Steps for making a successful air    everything with aluminum foil.
layer the Natural Way are as
follows:
                                 5. After the new roots have penetrated
                                 the compost and are visible on all
                                 sides, the rooted branch may be
                                 removed from the parent plant. The
                                 rooting time will vary with plant variety
                                 as well as the season in which it is
                                 performed.



                                 6. Remove the newly rooted plant from
                                 the parent plant with a knife or pruning
                                 shears, making the cut just below the
                                 ball of compost and roots. Carefully
                                 remove the polyethylene film. Without
                                 disturbing the roots or removing the
                                 organic material, plant in a container
                                 using a good potting mixture or plant in
                                 a well-prepared soil bed.

                                 7. Place a plastic tent over the newly
                                 potted plant for 4 to 8 days until the
                                 root system is well established to help
                                 in preventing excessive loss of
                                 moisture. Keep the plant under a light
                                 shade and avoid direct sunlight until
                                 the new root system is well developed.




Many plants are lost in the final stage of the process because the root
system is not sufficiently developed to sustain the top of the new plant. By
using the plastic tent or by keeping the new plant in a humid environment,
it is possible to develop a good root system on rather large cuttings. Once
the roots are well established, it is best to harden off the foliage by
gradually exposing it to normal atmosphere. This can be done by cutting
a few holes every few days in the plastic tent to reduce the humidity until
it is similar to the external atmosphere.
                                                                                with a particular GE tomato and GE
                                                                                potato. Results showed damage to the
                                                                                musocal cell lining of the gut in both cases
                                                                                and abnormal development of body
                                                                                organs in the latter case. Other
                                                                                experiments on rats fed with GE peas that
                                                                                contained a gene from beans showed
                                                                                heightened allergenicity and
                                                                                immunogenicity.
Genetic Scientist Warns of             genetic engineering," continued Dr
Risks of GE Pesticide Action           Steinbrecher.                            "Allergic reactions can be anything from
Network, Mar 28, 2007                                                           rashes, sneezing and asthma to fatal
                                       She cited a disturbing development       shocks in some cases," warns Dr.
Dear Readers, This issue is so         about honey bees in the U.S.             Steinbrecher.
catastrophic and it looks more and     "Millions of these insects have
more related to GE crops. Be sure      disappeared over the last half year,     Other possible impacts are gene silencing
to see the article at http://www.      their hives are empty. Bees are          - ie. the plant that is being genetically
                                       used as pollinators for various crops    engineered may 'silence' (turn off) that
celsias.com/blog/2007/03/
                                       and the value that they generate in      particular gene permanently. Dr.
15/bee-colony-collaps... in
                                       the U.S. is estimated at over USD14      Steinbrecher explains, "In 1992, a study
addition to the information below.                                              was published about GE petunias in
Peace, Thomas                          billion per year". The problem is so
                                       severe that it has been called the       Germany. One summer, these GE
                                       Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).          petunias started to produce white and
28 March 2007 - Seoul A -                                                       pink flowers instead of the characteristic
                                       "Nobody knows why the bees are
"Genetic engineering is far from                                                red ones. Investigations revealed that the
                                       dying. There is evidence though that
precise", warns Dr Ricarda                                                      plant had somehow shut off the gene
                                       GE crops contribute to this, in
Steinbrecher, consultant genetic                                                producing red flowers. Again, this was a
                                       particular insect resistant crops
scientist of Pesticide Action                                                   totally unexpected effect. Gene silencing
                                       producing the Bt-toxin. Though
Network Asia and the Pacific and                                                in GE plants has been repeatedly
                                       healthy bees do not seem to be
also director of EcoNexus. "There                                               observed. We now know that
                                       affected by Bt pollen, a scientist
are a number of steps in the                                                    environmental factors as well as
                                       called Hans-Hinrich Kaatz in
genetic engineering process and                                                 homologies of the GE gene and the
                                       Germany has found that bees
most of them are subject to                                                     plant's own genes can trigger gene
                                       infested with parasites and fed with
various uncertainties. A single                                                 silencing."
                                       Bt pollen were affected and died at
gene mutation can have serious
                                       a high rate. Beekeepers have for
effects - yet genetic engineering is                                            She goes on to cite another disturbing
                                       years reported that honeybees
all about creating mutations. The                                               case in the U.S."In the U.S., a case
                                       suffer from high rates of parasites
outcome can be tremendous, and                                                  reported in 1999, GE soya (resistant to
                                       and diseases. This resembles new
totally unpredictable and                                                       the Roundup Ready herbicide) was found
                                       evidence that Bt pollen is a
unexpected."                                                                    to have inexplicably produced 20% more
                                       contributing factor in the death of
                                       the bees. The areas where the bees       lignin. This caused the stems to become
Dr Steinbrecher expressed her                                                   harder than normal. During one
                                       have disappeared have a lot of Bt
disbelief that agri-business                                                    exceptionally hot summer, the stems
                                       crops being grown there. We don' t
corporations could guarantee that                                               cracked because they were too brittle and
                                       think this is a coincidence. No one
genetically engineered (GE) food                                                tough to expand in the heat. Fungus
                                       would ever have thought that this
or crops are stable and safe when                                               penetrated the cracks and this greatly
                                       could have been an outcome of Bt
there are so many indications to                                                affected the yield that summer."
                                       and yet here we are. Not only do we
show they are not. "Besides
                                       not know exactly how this
negative ecological, social and
                                       interaction happened, we don't           The final word from Dr. Steinbrecher is
economic effects of the genetic
                                       know how to deal with it or stop it or   one of extreme caution: "The moral of all
engineering of crops, from a
                                       even if we can."                         these cases is that from the scientific
scientific perspective, there are
                                                                                angle, genetic engineering of crops is still
health impacts, contamination
                                       Dr. Steinbrecher also cited              a technology full of risks. Any number of
effects and many scientific
                                       experiments with rats and mice fed
uncertainties associated with
totally unexpected things can           plants can and will contaminate
happen. Worse, once grown, GE           natural varieties and this              PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK
crops can contaminate the food          contamination is irrevocable. The       Tel: 604-6570271 or 604-6560381
supplies as just seen for two           only fact we can be sure of is that     Fax: 604-6583960
varieties of herbicide resistant rice   we simply don't know enough to risk     E-mail: panap@panap.net
(LL601 & LL). Worse still, GE           the consequences."                      Home Page: www.panap.net



                                                                                when mobile phones are placed nearby.
                                                                                Dr. Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said
                                                                                this could provide a "hint" to a possible
                                                                                cause. Dr. George Carlo, who headed a
                                                                                massive study by the U.S. government
                                                                                and mobile phone industry of hazards
                                                                                from mobiles in the Nineties, said: "I am
                                                                                convinced the possibility is real."
It seems like the plot of a             never found, but thought to die
particularly far-fetched horror film.   singly far from home. The               Evidence of dangers to people from
But some scientists suggest that        parasites, wildlife and other bees      mobile phones is increasing. But proof is
our love of the mobile phone            that normally raid the honey and        still lacking, largely because many of the
could cause massive food                pollen left behind when a colony        biggest perils, such as cancer, take
shortages, as the world's harvests      dies, refuse to go anywhere near        decades to show up. Most research on
fail.                                   the abandoned hives.                    cancer has so far proved inconclusive.
                                                                                But an official Finnish study found that
They are putting forward the            The alarm was first sounded last        people who used the phones for more
theory that radiation given off by      autumn, but has now hit half of all     than 10 years were 40% more likely to
mobile phones and other hi-tech         American states. The West Coast         get a brain tumor on the same side as
gadgets is a possible answer to         is thought to have lost 60% of its      they held the handset.
one of the more bizarre mysteries       commercial bee population, with
ever to happen in the natural           70% missing on the East Coast.          Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish
world - the abrupt disappearance        CCD has since spread to Germany,        research revealed that radiation from
of the bees that pollinate crops.       Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy     mobile phones killed off brain cells,
Late last week, some bee-               and Greece. And last week John          suggesting that today's teenagers could
keepers claimed that the                Chapple, one of London's biggest        go senile in the prime of their lives.
phenomenon - which started in           bee-keepers, announced that 23 of       Professor Sir William Stewart, who has
the U.S., then spread to                his 40 hives have been abruptly         headed two official inquiries, warned that
continental Europe - was                abandoned. Other apiarists have         children under eight should not use
beginning to hit Britain as well.       recorded losses in Scotland, Wales      mobiles and made a series of safety
                                        and north-west England.                 recommendations, largely ignored by
The theory is that radiation from                                               ministers.
mobile phones interferes with           The implications of the spread are
bees' navigation systems,               alarming. Most of the world's crops
preventing the famously                 depend on pollination by bees.
homeloving species from finding         Albert Einstein once said that if the
their way back to their hives.          bees disappeared, "man would
Improbable as it may seem, there        have only four years of life left".
is now evidence to back this up.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)          German research has long shown
occurs when a hive's inhabitants        that bees' behavior changes near
suddenly disappear, leaving only        power lines. Now a limited study at
queens, eggs and a few immature         Landau University has found that
workers, like so many apian Mary        bees refuse to return to their hives
Celestes. The vanished bees are
                                                                            They have become a seriously over
                                                                            populated pest in Texas. The solution is
                                                                            for wild game to become legal to serve in
                                                                            restaurants.


Order Artiodactyla: Family           species include live oak, hackberry
Cervidae: Cervus axix                and sumac.

Axis deer is native to India,
where it is known as the "chital".
It was introduced into Texas
about 1932. In 1988, free-ranging
herds were established in 27
counties of central and southern
Texas. It now is found as a
confined animal on ranches in 67
other Texas counties. Axis deer
are the most abundant exotic
ungulate in Texas.
                                     These animals are gregarious and
                                     usually are found in herds ranging
Axis deer are found in secondary
                                     from a few animals to 100 or more.
forests, broken by glades, with an
                                     In each herd the leader is usually
understory of grasses and forbs,
                                     an old, experienced doe. Unlike
which supply adequate drinking
                                     native deer, adult male axis deer
water and shade. Usually
                                     normally are found living with herds
avoiding rugged terrain, they feed
                                     of young and old animals of both
on grasses at all seasons,
                                     sexes. Axis deer are more closely
augmented with browsing. In
                                     allied to the North American elk
Texas, they graze on grasses
                                     than to our native deer. Like some
such as paspalum, switchgrass,
                                     elk, rutting male axis deer emit
and little bluestem. Sedges are a
                                     bugle-like bellows, and both sexes
favorite spring food. Browse
                                     have alarm calls or barks.
                                                              Plant Shed
                                                              817346-8700


                                                              Russell Feed
                                                              817-626-8452
                                                              www.russellfeedandsupply.com


                                                              Russell Feed
                                                              817-244-3830
                                                              www.russellfeedandsupply.com

                               Russell Feed
                               817-249-1061                   Keller:
                               www.russellfeedandsupply.com   Plant Shed Nursery
                                                              817-906-1591
                               Benbrook:
                               Plant Shed Nursery             Mansfield:
                               817-244-2109                   Plant Shed Nursery
                                                              817-473-6657
                               Russell Feed
                               817-249-1061                   Murphy:
                               www.russellfeedandsupply.com   Classic Gardens
                                                              972-424-9929
Athens:                                                       www.classicgardensnursery.com
                               Colleyville:
Athens Organic Supply
                               Plant Shed Nursery
903-675-1999
                               817-283-5681                   Wichita Falls:
www.athensorganicsupply.com
                                                              Smith’s Gardentown Farms
                               Crowley:                       940-692-7100
Aubrey:                                                       www.smithsgardentown.com
                               Russell Feed
D & L Farm and Home
                               817-297-9756
1-800-420-5997
                               www.russellfeedandsupply.com
www.dandlfarmandhome.com

                               Euless:
Azle:
                               Plant Shed Nursery
Azle Nursery
                               817-540-4580
817-444-4769

                               Fort Worth:
Russell Feed
                               Archie’s Gardenland
817-444-8815
                               817-737-6614
www.russellfeedandsupply.com

                               Designs in Nature
Bartonville:                   817-561-9248
Lantana Gardens                www.thetreeplace.com
817-961-0400
www.lantanagardens.com
                               Marshall Grain Company
                               817-536-5636
Benbrook:                      www.marshallgrain.com
Plant Shed Nursery
817-244-2109
                                                                                more than 150 growers on 30,000 organic
                                                                                acres under its control.

                                                                                Evans worries that the influx of these big
                                                                                companies - with their industrial
                                                                                production methods, profit obsession and
                                                                                political muscle - will dilute organic
Will the term organic still mean       eye toward becoming entirely
                                                                                standards and, potentially, render the
anything when it's adopted             organic.
                                                                                USDA stamp irrelevant. "If big business
whole hog by behemoths such
                                                                                kills the name," Evans said, "why go
as Wal-Mart?                           Lately, however, Evans has begun         organic?"
                                       to wonder if the USDA "Certified
AGRIBUSINESS                           Organic" stamp will be worth the         He's not alone. Many critics foresee
                                       annual fee, which could run more         erosion not only of organic standards but
                                       than $1,000. His pastures - the          also of the movement's true ideals -
Marin Sun Farms, in Point Reyes,
                                       largest certified organic acreage in     which include localism and sustainability
is a collection of ranches on more
                                       Marin County - may seem large, but       as much as eschewing chemical
than 2,000 acres of rolling,
                                       they are dwarfed by their corporate      pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
certified organic pasture. All year
                                       counterparts.                            Indeed, a battle is raging in organic food
long, cattle and chickens speckle
the hills, free to roam and graze at                                            production, and it has already split the
their leisure.                         As Evans knows, organic food has         industry: between those willing to
                                       become big business. According to        sacrifice ideals for growth and those who
                                       the Organic Consumer's                   think organic should remain small, local
The Hereford and Angus cows, in
                                       Association, sales could hit $18         and transparent.
fact, are never confined. They are
                                       billion this year, with half coming
grass-fed, except during winter,
                                       from conventional supermarkets.          The 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill
when they also eat hay and silage.
                                       Though still only about 2.5 percent      hacked the split between these groups
The chickens' typical diet of plants
                                       of the agricultural market, demand       into a chasm. A rider on the bill legalized,
and insects is supplemented with
                                       for organic has grown 20 percent         for the first time, the use of synthetic
organic grains, which they eat at
                                       annually in recent years, and most       substances in the processing and post-
night, in the winter and in
                                       of the top-selling brands are now        harvest handling of organic foods.
otherwise foul weather when kept
                                       owned by agribusiness behemoths.
in their portable coops. When you
imagine an organic cattle ranch,                                                What particularly worries purists is that
Marin Sun Farms is probably            Dean Foods, for example, owns            the rider was sponsored by the Organic
pretty close to what you picture —     White Wave (maker of Silk soymilk)       Trade Association, a lobbying group that
though maybe not exactly.              and Horizon Organic, the No. 1-          represents the interests of big
                                       selling organic brand across the         corporations. And, though virtually all of
                                       country. Unilever owns Ben &             the 38 synthetics are considered
No synthetic fertilizers or chemical
                                       Jerry's Organic. Groupe Danone, a        harmless — and in fact were already
pesticides are used on the
                                       French corporation, recently bought      being widely used — some believe that
pasture, and the animals are
                                       Stonyfield Farm. Even Wal-Mart is        codifying their use may pave the way for
hormone- and antibiotic-free. But
                                       plunging deeper into the market,         others that may not be so harmless.
even though most of the land is
                                       announcing it would dramatically
certified organic, the cows and
                                       increase its organic offerings.
chickens raised there are not.                                                  Jim Riddle, former chairman of the
                                                                                USDA's National Organic Standards
                                       And if you think Evans' 2,000-plus       Board, which advises the USDA in setting
One reason is because the owner,
                                       organic acres is a lot, take a look at   organic standards, said that what was
David Evans, obtains cows from
                                       Earthbound Farm, which grew from         most alarming about the rider was the
partner ranchers who use
                                       a 2 1/2 acre raspberry and lettuce       secretive method used to attach it.
synthetic "wormers" to control
                                       farm to the largest organic produce      According to Riddle, the rider (which is an
parasites - a violation of organic
                                       operation in North America, with         amendment to the 1990 Organic Foods
standards. But Evans has been
                                       $350 million in annual sales and         Production
slowly accumulating a base herd
with an
Act) was snuck into the bill -          decision. At issue is a category of
inserted after an appropriation's       synthetics known as "food contact            a synthetic pectin he'd been using as a
conference committee had                substances." The USDA is currently           thickening agent. It took some
adjourned, in order for the             allowing more than 600 of these in the       experimentation, but eventually he
corporations pushing the                processing of organic foods - in             discovered that apple pomace would
amendment (Kraft Foods was a            addition to the 38 synthetics legalized      do the trick.
leader) to avoid debate. This way,      by the rider.
Riddle said, "There's no author, no                                                  "I think any manufacturer of organic
one to be held accountable."            Not only would these FCSs be exempt          products is terrified they won't be able
                                        from listing on ingredient labels, they      to use synthetics," he said. "Because
Brian Baker, research director for      would not be required to be on the           they are cheaper, and easier to handle.
the Organic Materials Review            national list - thus they'd be exempt        If you're using pomace, as we are,
Institute, described the rider issue    from review or approval by the NOSB.         well, every batch is a little bit different.
as a "volatile situation" because of    And, according to Riddle, some are           So it can be a headache. But it is a
organic consumers' dedication to        toxins, such as dimethyl dicarbonate,        natural, organic product, and I feel
purity. He pointed out that after the   an antimicrobial added to fruit juices       much better about making jam this
first set of organic standards were     (even those that say "100 percent            way."
set in 1997, allowing for sewage        juice"); and a substance containing
sludge, irradiation and genetically     methyl chloride, a flammable gas once        Wal-Mart's burgeoning market
modified organisms, the USDA            used as a refrigerant.                       presence is another divisive issue. At a
received more than 300,000                                                           shareholder's meeting in early 2006,
letters of protest from furious         "There's no language in the Organic          Chief Executive Officer Lee Scott
consumers.                              Foods Production Act, the regulation         declared that Wal-Mart would
                                        or the court ruling to empower this          significantly increase its organic
When asked about the long-term          invisible allowance of substances that       offerings. (These already make up a
ramifications of the rider, Baker       don't even appear on the national list,"     wide array, from milk and produce to
said he wouldn't "take sides,"          said Riddle, "which never have been          breakfast cereal and salsa.) The
though he acknowledged it "could        reviewed by the NOSB, and have               announcement panicked critics who
open the door" to other synthetics.     never gone through a rule-making             feared that Wal-Mart's business model
                                        process or even a public comment             of low prices - Wal-Mart has said its
The very existence of any               period."                                     goal is to sell organics for only 10
synthetics in organic food remains                                                   percent above conventional prices -
unfathomable to some - perhaps          Caren Wilcox, executive director of the      would pressure organic suppliers to cut
no one more so than Arthur              OTA, would not comment on the rider          corners, thereby diluting the label.
Harvey, a 74-year-old blueberry         because she was not with the
farmer from Maine. A purist,            organization when it was attached.           In September, the Cornucopia Institute,
Harvey believed that the organic        She also declined to comment on the          a Wisconsin watchdog group,
standards of 2002, and their            issue of "food contact substances"           published an analysis of Wal-Mart's
inclusion of a national list of         because of Harvey's suit. She                early influence on the organic market.
allowable synthetics, violated the      asserted, however, that "there has           The study found that not only was Wal-
original 1990 law, which he             always been a place for synthetics" in       Mart "cheapening the value of the
believed banned all synthetics. In      organic foods. She added that it would       organic label" by sourcing most of its
January 2005, a federal appellate       "be impossible to produce" organics          products from "industrial-scale factory
court agreed with him. The court's      without synthetics such as ozone, to         farms and Third World countries," but
ruling would have banned all            resist bacteria; chlorine, a disinfectant;   also - on multiple occasions and in
synthetics had it not been for the      and bleached lecithin and ascorbic           multiple stores - labeling non-organic
OTA rider. But Harvey didn't give       acid.                                        food as organic with misleading in-
up; he found fault with the rider,                                                   store signs.
too, and is back in court.              Harvey disagrees. A producer of his
                                        own blueberry jams, Harvey was               The study even discovered Wal-Mart
Though a Maine district court           motivated (during the brief period           selling "organic" baby formulas
dismissed his latest case in            when it appeared synthetics would be         containing synthetic ingredients
November, Harvey is appealing           banned) to find an organic alternative       prohibited by U.S. organic standards.
the                                     to
"This is disturbing and a serious     standards to confine thousands of
                                                                                  Currently, there are 40 accredited
problem," Mark Kastel, co-founder     cows in feedlot-like conditions with
                                                                                  foreign certifying agents (and 55
of the institute, said in a           little time spent grazing on pasture.
                                                                                  domestic). But serious questions
November news release                 (The law says cows must have
                                                                                  remain about the integrity of the
accompanying a legal complaint        "access to pasture," but doesn't say
                                                                                  process in some countries - especially
to the USDA. "Consumers, who          how much or how often.)
                                                                                  China. The USDA, in fact, has yet to
are paying premium prices in the
                                                                                  make an inspection tour of what Kastel
marketplace for organic food,
                                      "Wal-Mart's dependence on factory           described as China's "government-
deserve to get what they are
                                      farms," the study concluded, is a           controlled certification system," even
paying for."
                                      typical example of its "philosophy of       though the United States is already
                                      sourcing products from the least            importing huge amounts of Chinese
In a recent interview, Kastel         expensive supplier regardless of the        organic products.
speculated that the labeling          impact on product quality, the
problems, which he and his staff      environment or our nation's workers."
photographed, probably stemmed                                                    (When asked for comment, Joan
more from detachment and a lack                                                   Shaffer, a spokeswoman for the
of dedication to organics than        Ronnie Cummins, executive director          USDA, said that the associate deputy
from purposeful deception.            of the Organic Consumer's                   administrator of the NOP, Mark
                                      Association, echoed these criticisms.       Bradley, would be flying to China later
(Karen Burk, a Wal-Mart                                                           this year to conduct reviews.)
spokeswoman, replied to the           "When you get into bed with Wal-Mart,       Proponents of small-scale organic say
charges by saying, "we believe it     you forget your ethics because of the       foreign sourcing is a key factor in the
to be an isolated incident should a   money involved," Cummins said. "But         dilution of the label, because
green organic identifying tag be      you simply cannot act in organic the        transparency, another important
inadvertently placed by or            same way you did in conventional            organic ideal, is lost. Knowing your
accidentally shift in front of the    because consumers are looking for           farmer, visiting his ranch and seeing
wrong item." She did not comment      more than just low prices."                 how the food is grown - gathering any
on the infant formula.)                                                           kind of story behind the food -
                                                                                  becomes virtually impossible when
                                      Cummins added that even if the              organics are obtained from overseas.
The study also found that
                                      aforementioned practices by Wal-
because of its stringent price
                                      Mart, Horizon and Aurora technically
demands, Wal-Mart obtained little                                                 "I'd rather spend $5 on some locally
                                      fulfilled organic standards, they
organic food from U.S. family-                                                    grown, organic strawberries than $2.50
                                      nevertheless violated organic ideals
scale farms, but most from major                                                  for some Chilean farmer's strawberries
                                      like animal rights and the preservation
agribusiness companies,                                                           at Wal-Mart," David Evans said. "Why
                                      of fossil fuels. "How organic can food
industrial-scale farms and foreign                                                would I want to save $2.50 on those
                                      really be that is shipped halfway
countries.                                                                        Chilean strawberries when I don't really
                                      around the world?" he said.
                                                                                  know how they were grown, under
Kastel illustrated how Wal-Mart's                                                 what conditions or if they were really
low-price-only policy has hurt        Which brings up another concern: how        grown organically?"
small farmers and "cheapened"         to insure that organic products grown
the organic label.                    outside U.S. borders are actually
                                      organic.                                    But, as even the most vehement critics
After one of Wal-Mart's original                                                  of industrial organic concede, there are
organic milk suppliers, Organic                                                   benefits to Wal-Mart's - and other big
                                      The USDA's National Organic                 corporations' - market presence.
Valley - a co-operative of small      Program is ultimately responsible for
organic dairy farmers - refused to                                                Perhaps the most significant is the
                                      the integrity of all organic food sold in   removal of toxic pesticides and
acquiesce to Wal-Mart's               the United States, but it does not
demands, the giant retailer turned                                                chemical fertilizers from the
                                      conduct inspections. Instead, it            ecosystem: As demand rises and huge
to Horizon Organic (owned by          accredits third-party agencies to
Dean Foods) and Aurora Dairy,                                                     retailers like Wal-Mart seek to meet it,
                                      inspect the farms, processors and           conventional acres will transition to
both of which have been accused       retailers that seek certification.
of exploiting ambiguities in the                                                  organic, and
organic
whether those are in the United        said, "they may investigate more,
States, Chile or China, it will be     maybe even stop by a farmers'                may have its place - for supplying
good for the environment.              market. This would increase demand           populations in less agriculturally
                                       and the end result is it would be good       sustainable areas, such as Las Vegas
                                       for organic."                                or Albuquerque, for example.
Drew and Myra Goodman, the
owners of Earthbound Farm (one
                                                                                    Hellberg, however, believes local,
of Wal-Mart's top suppliers),          But others maintain that even in the
                                                                                    small-scale organics should be the
estimate that their business alone     best industrial organic models, there
                                                                                    aim. He said he's seen "the most arid
has been responsible for               are aspects that mirror conventional
                                                                                    and horrible soils turned around," and
eliminating almost 10 million          agriculture and conflict with organic
                                                                                    he pointed to Marin's movement as an
pounds of synthetic fertilizer and     ideals - such as the use of migrant
                                                                                    example he believed could be
313,000 pounds of chemical             farm workers, aggressive business
                                                                                    replicated in other places - if not
pesticides. This is a significant      practices designed to crush
                                                                                    practically, than at least the "mind-set."
boon to the environment and to         competition, reliance on monocrop at
                                                                                    He said Prince Charles' November
national health, not only for the      the expense of diversity and mass
                                                                                    2005 visit was due to the innovation,
removal of pesticide residues          expenditures of fossil fuels in
                                                                                    tradition and dedication to ideals of the
from food, but also by preserving      distribution and production.
                                                                                    area's organic farmers.
petroleum, which is used to
create synthetic fertilizer.           "There's a long list of benefits of small-
                                                                                    The biodiversity of Peter Martinelli's
                                       scale organic that you don't get with
                                                                                    Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas, where
A study by the Rodale Institute        industrial," said Helge Hellberg, the
                                                                                    more than 40 crops are grown on 5
found that organic farms fight         executive director of Marin Organic,
                                                                                    acres; Dennis and Sandy Dierks'
global warming by removing             an association of organic producers
                                                                                    Paradise Valley Produce, where
carbon from the atmosphere by          dedicated to "creating the first all-
                                                                                    unique fertilization methods such as
sequestering it in the earth at a      organic county in the nation."
                                                                                    fermenting seaweed and other
rate of 3,670 pounds per acre.
                                                                                    microbes to enhance soil fertility are
With the Goodmans' 30,000              Like Hellberg, most of Marin's organic       used, and where the coho salmon are
acres, that would mean                 community does not view Big Organic          making a comeback because of a
Earthbound Farm alone has              as a direct threat to their own farms or     healthier watershed; and Warren
removed the equivalent of more         way of life - "we're far removed from        Weber's Star Route Farms, the
than 7,500 cars from the road.         the Wal-Marts of the world," is how          longest continuously certified organic
                                       Evans put it - but they remain an            farm in California, are all examples of
Peggy Miars, executive director of     advocate for the preservation of the         the sustainable model - and were all
California Certified Organic           nation's small farms, yet another ideal      "certainly a draw" for His Royal
Farmers in Santa Cruz, one of the      not addressed by the industrial model.       Highness.
nation's largest organic certifiers,
believes the benefits of big           "We're still losing 400 family farms in      When asked if he thought some ideals
businesses' market presence            the U.S. every week to development,"         needed to be sacrificed to meet rising
outweigh the potential negatives.      Hellberg said. "The industrial model,        demand, Hellberg said: "No, I think the
                                       even if it's organic, will not stop that.    opposite is true. Smaller scale
Miars said the USDA standards          We're still shipping food an average of      agriculture, artisan food production,
are strict enough (though she          about 2,000 miles from where it's            true relationships, integrating
acknowledged ambiguities               grown to where it's consumed. The            agriculture in your local region and
existed) that the label would          industrial organic model will not            building upon it: That is the model that
remain strong, and, in addition to     address that."                               shows the most benefits. It is the
the environmental benefits, she                                                     closest to the heart and there's no
said big corporations would            But will the local model address             place on earth where you can't apply
create greater awareness, boost        skyrocketing demand? While much of           it."
demand and create more                 agribusiness's market presence can
markets. "If consumers who never       be chalked up to profit seeking, even        Evans agrees. "The most conscious
thought much about organic             some proponents of small-scale               way to buy food is straight from the
foods see them at their local Wal-     organics think the industrial model          farmer," he said. "There's a lot of room
Mart," she
for growth in this country for that
kind of relationship. Even better
than organic is local organic, and
that's a niche that the big guy just
can't get in on."

Howard’s Response:

The good news is -- organics is on
the rise. The dramatic increase in
interest is gratifying. The crities
who said and continue to say that
“it’s a fad” must be bashing their
heads against the wall, and then
taking some drug to mask the pain
of the injury. The bad news is that
organics is getting sloppy. All we
can do is continue to try to spread
the word and help people practice
“Buyer Beware!” Hopefully our
information will help.

Originally published in the San
Francisco Chronicle January 28,
2007




  - In one year, an average tree
  produces enough oxygen for
  a family of four.
  - One tree will absorb the
  CO2 from 4 cars, ever year.


  - Shade trees can reduce
  utility bills for air conditioning
  by 15 to 50%.
  - Trees add curb appeal to
  your home and can add 15%
  to your property's value.
                                                                                distributors and sales personnel are often
                                                                                unfamiliar with which products fall under
                                                                                Texas Green List designation.

                                                                                For this reason we have developed the
                                                                                following list of common pesticides that fall
                                                                                into the Green List. The listing here does
                                                                                not include all Green List products, but is
Southwest Technical Resource           approval must first be obtained and      intended as a guide to the most commonly
Center for Schools and Childcare       kept on file for at least three years.   used active ingredients, and some current
Facilities, Texas Cooperative          Also, certain Green List products        trade names associated with these active
Extension, Dallas, Texas               may have less restrictive reentry        ingredients.
                                       requirements than other pesticides.
In 1991, the Texas Legislature         These requirements are designed          Trade names change frequently. For this
amended the Structural Pest            to encourage schools to use least        reason, schools and pest management
Control Act (SPCA) to require          hazardous materials necessary to         professionals should focus on learning the
public school districts to have an     effectively do the job.                  qualifying criteria for Green List products,
Integrated Pest Management                                                      rather than depending on a listing of trade
(IPM) program. Since 1995, all         It is important that IPM                 names.
public school districts in Texas       Coordinators and all pesticide
must have a written pest               applicators working on school            Response
management policy, designate           facilities be able to identify Green     Controlling the "looseness" of this green
and train a district IPM               List products. According to Section      list, my advice is to simply follow the
Coordinator, and ensure that all       595.11 (h) of the Texas Structural       acceptable products list established by the
pesticide applications be made         Pest Control Regulations, Green          Texas Organic Research Center (TORC).
only by licensed applicators. The      List products must be from at least      These people are at least marring in the
IPM Coordinator is required to         one of the following categories:         right direction, but we can really shorten
keep detailed records of all                                                    their learning curve if they will just let us.
pesticide applications and to          1. Inorganic pesticides containing
ensure that the district, or its       boric acid, disodium octoborate
designated pest control provider,      tetrahydrate, silica gel or
uses the least hazardous               diatomaceous earth.
methods to control pests.
                                       2. Insect growth regulators.
According to Texas school              3. Insect and rodent baits in tamper-
pesticide regulations, all             resistant containers, or for crack-
pesticides are classified as either    and-crevice use only.
Green, Yellow or Red List
products. Green List products are      4. Microbe-based insecticides.
those pesticides which are
                                       5. Botanical insecticides (not
considered to carry the least
                                       including synthetic pyrethroids)
potential hazard to people and
                                       containing no more than 5%
the environment. Red List
                                       synergists.
pesticides carry EPA signal words
(WARNING and DANGER) which             6. Biological (living) control agents.
indicate the highest potential risks
to applicators or the environment.
                                       Identifying Green List Products

Although school IPM                    Distinguishing Green List products
Coordinators may use any               is not always easy. There is no
pesticide, Structural Pest Control     packaging designation to show
Board regulations require that         which pesticides are Green List
when a Yellow or Red List              under Texas law. Even pesticide
pesticide is used, written
                                                                             best-educated gardeners in their
                                                                             respective areas, with their knowledge
                                                                             far exceeding most others’, including
                                                                             professional landscapers, in those areas.

                                                                             In front of the old officer’s club was a
                                                                             swimming pool that had been filled in
                                                                             and was uncovered as part of an effort
There was a chill in the air that    January 29, 2007 when each of           to show the history of the base. It didn’t
Monday morning in March with         the three companies received a          fit in with the new purpose of the
the mercury dipping just south of    call from Pat Plowman of the            property and provided a gaping hole
freezing before sunrise. Members     Victoria County Master Gardeners        where educational space might be. They
of three different Texas pond-       Association. For Pat, the story had     decided that the swimming pool could
building companies were yawning      begun a couple of years before          somehow be converted into a large
and stretching their muscles while   when a piece of land and a              water garden. Since they wanted to
loading up their respective trucks   building that had long before been      promote organic practices even within
and trailers for what was planned    the Officer’s Club at historic Foster   their new water feature, they aimed their
to be a large two-day pond build.    Airfield were provided to the           sights on putting together an ecosystem
John and Mychal Cenicola and         Master Gardeners. They would            pond. Before leaving to pursue a
John Garcia from ‘The Pond           use these accommodations to             business opportunity, a professional
Crew’ in San Antonio, Steve          create a Community Education            irrigator that had been working with the
Parker and Brandon Tucker from       Garden to show interested citizens      group told Pat about the Aquascape
Alpine Aquascapes in Katy, and       of the area examples of different       philosophy of pondering that said, “Work
Matt Boring and Armando              kinds of plants and designs that do     with Nature, not against her.” Knowing
Sanchez from TexasPonds.com          well in the area. The building and      that a balanced aquatic ecosystem
in Rosenberg showed up at the        surrounding grounds would be            pretty much takes care of itself with just
jobsite at roughly the same time     used to host speakers and present       a little help from its human friends, Pat
to inspect the canvas on which       educational seminars to coincide        and the others decided that this was the
they would try to quickly create a   with the gardening theme.               best path to take. But how to get there
beautiful piece of the pond-                                                 from here?
builders’ art. The reason for the    All of Texas’ Master Gardeners
hurry was that this is peak work     Associations emphasize using
season for these companies and       native plants and organic
they had gathered here today to      gardening practices such as
donate a couple of days worth of     composting, and try to steer
free labor to make something         people away from invasive plants
special happen for some special      or non-native species that may
people who give much more than       beg for the use of herbicides,
two days free labor each year in     pesticides or extra water to survive
their community.                     in an area to which they’re not
                                     native. Master Gardeners are
                                     good stewards of the planet and
                                     they reach beyond what they do in
                                     their own homes and yards to try
                                     to educate others in the                Pat put on her thinking cap and set off
                                     community about why they do             on the information superhighway on her
                                     what they do and live the way they      way to researching Aquascape, Inc.
                                     live. Becoming a Master Gardener        There she learned of the Certified
                                     requires 50 hours of classroom          Aquascape Contractor program, a group
                                     work and 50 hours of community          of professional pond-builders who have
                                     service with additional hours           gone the extra mile to be the best of the
                                     required each year after their          best in their industry. Like the Master
This story began for the pond -
                                     certification. For this reason,         Gardeners, a Certified Aquascape
builders on the afternoon of
                                     Master Gardeners are some of the
Contractor must have classroom          that would block a good portion of the
as well as hands-on training in the     view that was being created, John           the initial excavation to create shelves
field. They must continue to            suggested a land bridge across the          within the pond. The hole for the
receive training each year in order     same part of the pond. This is a            skimmer had to be dug through
to keep their certification. Their      feature that hides large culvert tubes      asphalt, but was soon ready to go.
work is reviewed by their peers         in the pond and then seems to close         Twenty five tons of rocks and fifteen
and their customers are surveyed        up the ground above them so that you        yards of gravel were delivered right on
to make sure that only the              walk at pretty much existing ground         schedule. Once the pond had the
companies who are tops in design        level from one side of the pond to the      shape they wanted, a protective
and building techniques as well as      other with the water and fish passing       underlayment of fabric was laid down
tops in customer service are            through the tubes below your feet. It’s     inside the empty shell and covered by
allowed to remain in the program.       a beautiful piece of the pond-builders’     a 45-mil EPDM liner.
In fact, the program is so elite that   art when it’s done correctly, effectively
a lesser-educated group of pond-        creating two separate ponds from
builders who don’t subscribe to         one.
the organic philosophy by which
all Aquascape water gardens are
built has created a website to try
to skim pond customers away by
simply adding an ‘s’ to the real
program’s web address! Using the
‘Find A CAC’ link on the website,
Pat called the three closest
companies and hoped that one of
them would ride in to her rescue.

                                                                                    Since all three companies build ponds
What she didn’t know was that
                                                                                    by the same philosophy and have had
these three contractors were all
                                                                                    similar training and experience, each
friends who had worked together         A water garden this large would need
                                                                                    team member was able to glide
in some capacity or other before        to be filtered by a constructed
                                                                                    effortlessly between the many different
this project came up. They were         wetlands filter, sometimes referred to
                                                                                    little projects that make a big project
already on the phone to each            as a ‘bog filter’. Feeding the large
                                                                                    like this come together. A couple of
other figuring out a way to work        waterfall and constructed wetlands
                                                                                    guys were installing the rocks along
together on this project. They          filter would be two pumps housed in a
                                                                                    the vertical walls of the pond while a
knew that the group wouldn’t have       ‘Grande’ skimmer. Since a skimmer
                                                                                    couple were bringing the rock to them
much money but everyone                 that large isn’t the most easily-
                                                                                    with machines. When the machines
involved wanted to make sure this       disguised feature, John decided to
                                                                                    were needed to help lift and install the
pond was done right and that            create an underground stream to a
                                                                                    larger boulders, other people worked
these Master Gardeners were             third pond that would hold the
                                                                                    on the land bridge or the underground
treated right. A couple of weeks        skimmer, rather than just sticking it on
                                                                                    stream. Before long the project had
later, John, Steve, and Matt made       the side of the pond. This would
                                                                                    really begun to take shape. The team
the trek to Victoria to meet with       effectively create what looks on the
                                                                                    members returned to a local motel to
Pat and scope out the scene of          surface like another land bridge,
                                                                                    rest up for what promised to be
the soon-to-be water garden.            opening up more views and allowing
                                                                                    another hard day that would start all
                                        more human interaction with the
                                                                                    too early the next morning.
The swimming pool had been              water feature.
filled with dirt years ago so the
volunteers dug the pond out,                                                        The second day of the project wasn’t
                                        On the chilly morning of March 5, just
piling the dirt where they wanted       five weeks after the initial phone calls    quite as cold and everyone wanted to
the waterfall to be placed. They        were made, seven people showed up           get started early. By the time lunch
had the idea of a large bridge          ready to work hard. As they waited for      was served, it looked like things were
going across the middle of the          the pond components to be delivered         on schedule. The Fire Marshall came
pond to link two pathways               from the county property where it had       by and was able to quickly fill the pond
together. Since                         been safely stored, the guys tweaked
with a fire hose in about 45
minutes while the underwater               tropical-themed paradise around the new water garden. I have a feeling that a lot
lights were being installed and the        of those community service hours will have been earned by the day of the Grand
finishing touches were being put           Opening celebration. But the completed result will be an area that is beautiful,
on the waterfall. The constructed          educational and enjoyable to all the people in Victoria county and the surrounding
wetlands filter was finished and           areas.
turned on first. Around 5:00pm,
the waterfall sealing foam was dry           Victoria County Master Gardeners          www.vcmga.org
and the second 7500 gph pump
was plugged in.
                                                                                       www.vcmga.org/VEGWater
                                             Victoria County Pond Project
                                                                                       Gardens.html

                                             Pond Installation Pictures                www.vcmga.org

                                                                                       www.certifiedaquascape
                                             Certified Aquascape Contractor
                                                                                       contractor.com

                                             The Pond Crew                             www.thepondcrew.com

                                             Alpine Aquascapes                         www.backyardcreations.org
As the waterfall flowed for the first
time, a loud cheer went up from
the assembled Master Gardeners.              Texas Ponds and Water Gardens             www.TexasPonds.com
Flash bulbs began to twinkle and
soon the three groups of Certified
Aquascape Contractors had
gathered around the waterfall for
the familiar Aquascape’s ‘thumbs-
up’ picture around their completed
project. A little while later, with just
enough adrenaline still in their
systems to make the drives home,
they each went back the way they
came, heading off into, and away
from, the approaching sunset.
While Matt would return a few
weeks later to install an automatic-
fill valve and plant the aquatic
plants, the pond-builders’ work
here was done.

But not so for the Master
Gardeners. With a grand opening
date of May 20th looming large on
the approaching horizon, stone
pathways had to be completed,
gazebos built, and a fence
erected. Then, finally, last but
certainly not least, landscaping
will be installed. There is a local
artist who’s also a Master
Gardener who is going to create a
                                      But don't start gobbling up chocolate
                                      bars just yet, wrote study author Dirk      General Assembly through the South
                                      Taubert of the University Hospital of       Carolina Agriculture and Forestry
                                      Cologne, Germany.                           Research System based at Clemson.

                                      Treats such as dark chocolate might         Birrenkott's research found that it took
                                      be substituted for other high-calorie       about three weeks for the garlic to
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Some may          desserts, based on the study's              reduce the poultry house odor
see a cup of tea as soothing but      findings, but "we believe that any          compared to the odor from a control
chocolate is more likely to lower     dietary advice must account for the         group of laying hens. The researchers
one's blood pressure, German          high sugar, fat and calorie intake with     have already conducted taste tests
researchers reported on Monday.       most cocoa products.                        and found that people preferred the
                                                                                  eggs produced by the garlic-eating
Foods rich in cocoa appear to         "Rationally applied, cocoa products         hens.
reduce blood pressure but             might be considered part of dietary
drinking green and black tea may      approaches to lower hypertension            "The tasters said the eggs were
not, according to an analysis of      risk," he wrote.                            milder from the chickens eating garlic
previously published research in                                                  than from the control hens," Birrenkott
the Archives of Internal Medicine,                                                said. "We think it might reduce the
published by the American                                                         sulfur content of the eggs."
Medical Association.
                                                                                  While the chickens adapted to eating
The drop in blood pressure
                                                                                  garlic right away, hogs in a
among participants who
                                                                                  companion test were more reluctant
consumed cocoa products for at
                                                                                  to accept the new feed.
least two weeks was in the same       Science Daily — CLEMSON - Garlic
range as achieved by someone          may not be the first thing that comes to
taking drugs commonly                 mind when you think of air fresheners,      "Hogs have a very sensitive sense of
prescribed to control high blood      but Clemson University scientists are       smell. That's why they're used in
pressure.                             finding that it works like a charm in       France to find truffles," Birrenkott
                                      poultry houses ... and may lower the        said. After a day or so of boycotting
The fall in blood pressure credited   cholesterol in eggs, to boot.               the feed, however, the hogs did
to cocoa could be expected to                                                     cooperate in the study, with similar
reduce the risk of strokes and        "We're feeding the chickens about 3         promising results on odor control.
heart attacks by 10-20 percent,       percent of their diet in garlic powder to   Chemical analyses of the cholesterol
the report said.                      mask the odor of the waste," said           content of the eggs and pork are also
                                      Glenn Birrenkott, Clemson animal and        being conducted.
Both cocoa and tea contain            veterinary science professor. "It makes
polyphenols, a class of chemicals     the poultry house smell like a pizzeria     While the garlic is effective in
known to help prevent                 instead of manure."                         controlling odor, it is more expensive
cardiovascular disease that are                                                   than basic chicken or hog feed. This
present in most fruits and            As urban populations expand into rural      means the eggs and pork may require
vegetables. But cocoa has a           areas, the potential increases for          a premium price to be cost effective
different type than tea --            conflict between neighborhood               for commercial producers. However, if
procyanids -- that appear to be       sensibilities and farm necessities. As a    the products prove to contain a lower
more active.                          result, farmers must find creative          cholesterol level, they could qualify as
                                      solutions to produce the meat and           specialty items because of the health
Currently, patients with high blood   eggs suburbanites want in their             benefit.
pressure are urged to eat more        grocery stores but not in their
fruits and vegetables, although       backyards. Clemson scientists are
cocoa and tea products account                                                    Note: This story has been adapted
                                      conducting a variety of studies to
for the bulk of total polyphenol                                                  from a news release issued by
                                      address livestock waste management
consumption in Western                                                            Clemson University.
                                      as part of an initiative funded by the
countries, the study said.            South Carolina
                                    CANTON, TX                         North Haven Gardens
                                    Turner's Organic Store             7700 Northaven Rd.
                                    401 N Hwy 19                       Dallas, TX 75230
                                    903/567-2321                       214 363-5316
                                    Turnersorganic.com                 www.nhg.com

                                    CHANDLER, TX                       Redenta's Garden
                                    Blue Moon Gardens                  2001 Skillman St.
                                    13062 FM 279                       Dallas, TX 75206
ABILENE, TX                         903.852.3897                       www.redentas.com
Jackson Bros Feed & Seed            www.bluemoongardens.com
3818 Treadaway Blvd.                                                   Soil Building Systems
915.691.1110                        CLEBURNE, TX                       1770 Y Street
                                    In the Garden                      Dallas, TX 75229
ARLINGTON, TX                                                          972 831.8181
                                    1411 North Main
Moore Rental Service, Inc.                                             www.SoilBuildingSystems.com
                                    817.774.9000
1010 West Division
817.277.1141                                                           Agrispon
                                    COLLEYVILLE, TX
                                                                       3601 Garden Brook Dr.
Organicare                          Foreman’s                          Dallas, TX 75234
Daniel Wright, Certified Arborist   3800 Colleyville Blvd.             800.274.8930
Serving the Metroplex               817.281.7252                       www.agsciinc.com
817.469.4495
                                    COPPELL, TX                        Moore Tree Care - Root Flare Services
                                    Blooming Colors Nursery            6333 Denton Drive, Suite 100
Redenta’s Garden
                                    1701 East Beltline Rd.             Dallas, TX 75235
5111 West Arkansas Lane
                                    972.939.8660                       214-350-8350
817.451.2149
                                    www.bloomingcolorsnursery.com      www.rootflare.com
www.redentas.com
                                    CRESSON, TX                        DENTON, TX
ATHENS, TX                                                             Alliance Milling
Athens Organic Supply               Cresson Feed & Vet Supply          319 E. Prairie St.
6187 Highway 19 N                   Hwy. 377                           Denton, TX 76201
903.286.0383                        817.396.4316                       www.alliancemilling.com
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL               DALLAS, TX                         Twin Oaks Landscaping
Maxicrop USA                        Abrock Pest Management             2701 Highway 691
P.O. Box 964                        2842 Mark Twain Drive              903.463.2205
Arlington Heights, IL 60006         972.484.1174
                                                                       EARLY/BROWNWOOD, TX
847.956.8828                        Herb Mart                          Owens Organics
www.maxicrop.com                    6434 E. Mockingbird Ln. Ste. 113   9705 Highway 183 N.
BOYD, TX                            214.370.8120                       Early, TX 76802
                                    www.herbmarttx.com                 915 641-2814
Garden Thyme
1706+ CR 4757                       John Silk Feed                     EDINBURG, TX
940.433.5039                        11415 Harry Hines                  Texas Plant & Soil Lab
texicon@earthlink.com               972.247.2681                       5115 W. Monte Cristo Rd.
                                                                       Edinburg, TX 78541
BOWIE, TX                           Living Earth Technology            956 383-0739
Nature’s Way                        1901 California Crossing Rd.       www.txplant-soillab.com
305 E. London                       Dallas, TX 75220
940.872.4796                        972 869-4332                       FARMERSVILLE, TX
naturesway@hypermart.net            www.livingearth.net                Truth Hill Farm
                                                                       17953 Country Road 618
CELESTE, TX                         Nicholson-Hardie                   Farmersville, TX 75442
Good Earth Organic Farm             5060 W. Lovers Ln.                 903-776-2173 or 214-491-9441
903.496.2070                        Dallas, TX 75209                   truth_hill@yahoo.com
www.goodearthorganicfarm.com        214 357-4348
 Dirt Doctor's DIRT | May 2007




FORT WORTH, TX                                         GRANBURY, TX                         Soil Therapy
AJ Southwest                                           Arrow Feed & Ranch                   P.O. Box 387
4310 Village Creek Rd.                                 2031 E. Highway 377                  Lufkin, TX 75902
Fort Worth, TX 76119                                   817 573-8808                         800-282-5634
817 232-2785 or Toll Free 1-877-                       GRAND PRAIRIE, TX                    www.soiltherapy.org
810-0064                                               Grand Prairie Feed                   MCKINNEY, TX
www.ajsw.com                                           & Garden Supply                      Trinity Tree Farms
Marshall Grain Company                                 1229 E. Main Street                  4402 W University Dr.
2224 E. Lancaster Ave.                                 972 263-6522                         469/742-0600
Fort Worth, TX 76103                                   GRAPEVINE, TX                        MEXIA, TX
817 536.5636                                           Blooming Colors                      Texas Organic Nursery &
www.marshallgrain.com                                  2221 Ira E. Woods Avenue             Christmas Tree Farm
                                                       817 416.6669                         Highway 84
Ferrier Custom Homes
                                                       www.bloomingcolorsnursery.com        254/562-6306
11255 Camp Bowie West, Suite 115
Fort Worth, TX 76008-3692                              GREENVILLE, TX                       MESQUITE, TX
817-237-6262                                           Steve's Nursery                      Herb Mart
www.ferrierbuilders.com                                Hwy 34 South                         3330 N. Galloway, Ste 150
                                                       903 883-2911                         972 270-6521
Silver Creek Materials                                                                      www.herbmarttx.com
2251 Silver Creek Road                                 HUBBARD, TX
                                                       Sam's Nursery                        MINEOLA,TX
Fort Worth, TX 76108
                                                       236 SH 171                           Aunt Cindi’s Organic Market Center
817- 246-2426
                                                       254 576-1555                         6134 FM 49 aka Hwy 49
www.silvercreek-materials.com
                                                                                            903.857.2418
Weston Gardens                                         IRVING, TX
                                                                                            MURPHY, TX
8101 Anglin Dr.                                        Gibson Garden Center
                                                                                            Classic Gardens
Fort Worth, TX 76140                                   500 North O'Conner Road
                                                                                            401 W. FM 544
817 478-7220                                           972 254-3989
                                                                                            972 424-9929
www.westongardens.com                                  Nonnie's House of Organics & Gifts   www.classicgardensnursery.com
Whiz-Q-Stone                                           2440 W. Irving Blvd. #150            MUENSTER, TX
4501 East Loop 820 South                               (214) 596-9009                       Muenster Milling Co.
Fort Worth, TX                                         www.nonnieshouseoforganics.com       202 S. Main
817-429-0822                                           LANCASTER, TX                        Muenster, TX 76252
FOUKE, AR                                              Living Earth Technology Co           1-800-772-7178
                                                       3150 S. Beckley (1-35)               www.muenstermilling.com
Enoch's Berry Farm
1230 W. Spring Valley Rd., Apt 222                     972.869.4332                         NOLANVILLE, TX
Richardson, TX 75080                                   LEONARD, TX                          Nolan Creek Nursery
877 772-2806                                           Access Organic Supply                Nolanville, TX 76559
www.berryfarm.com                                      448 CR 5030                          254 698-8622
FRISCO, TX                                             903-587-0898 / 972-658-7609          NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX
Shades of Green                                        McKinney, Bonham, Greenville         Green Mama's
8801 Coit Road                                         LEWISVILLE, TX                       5324 Davis Blvd.
Frisco, TX                                             Hartwells Nursery                    817 514-7336
972-335-9095                                           1570 N. Stemmons Expressway          www.greenmamas.com
GARLAND, TX                                            972 436-3612                         PLANO, TX
Roach Feed and Seed                                    LUFKIN, TX                           Herb Mart Plano
409 Main St.                                           Angelina & Neches River Authority    4120 W 15 St Ste 101
Garland, TX 75040                                      P.O. Box 387                         972 758-1805
972 276-3217                                           Lufkin, TX 75902                     www.herbmarttx.com
GRAHAM, TX                                             800-282-5634                         Living Earth Technology Co.
Totally Organic                                        www.anra.org                         5032 Split Trail
1519 E. 4th Street                                                                          972.869.4332
940.549.8960

 file:///D|/dirt_doctor/May2007/magzaine/07May_21_p.htm5/1/2007 2:06:01 PM
The Pest Shop                WACO, TX                          AUSTIN
2231 W. 15th St., Ste B      Storm's Nursery                   Jim Grahs
Plano, TX 75075              9605 China Springs Rd             RR I, Box 444
972 519-0355                 254/836-0022                      Red Rock, TX 78662
                                                               512/303-5190 or 512/303-4653
                             WEATHERFORD, TX
POTTSBORO, TX
                             Dillard Feed & Seed               DALLAS
Good Earth Soil & Material
                             319 N. Main                       Dallas Organic Gardening Club
220 Highway 1-20
                             817/596-8271                      Meetings held 4th Thursday each month
903 786-7645
                                                               7:00 pm Fretz Park Recreation Center
                             Peacock's Farm                    Contact number 214.676.4326
ROCKWALL, TX                 122 W. Water St.
Living Earth Technology Co   817 594-5424                      DENTON
1520 E 130                                                     Denton Organic Society
972.869.4332                 Weatherford Gardens               Mike Mizell
                             2106 Fort Worth Highway           509 N. Bell Ave.
Tropical John's Garden       Metro 817/341-0152                Denton, TX 76201
Shop & Landscape Co.                                           940/382-8551
302 Williams St.             Willow Park Feed & Organic
972-117-2449                 Garden Supply                     FORT WORTH
                             3187 Fort Worth Hwy.(Exit. 415)   Norma Miller
SULPHUR SPRINGS, TX          Weatherford, TX 76087             Po Box 9204
East Texas Landscaping       817/ 596 – 8844                   Ft. Worth, TX 76147
& Fencing                                                      817/292-2022
450 Main St.                 Wildflower Soaps
903 439-4648                 1800 Oak Country Est.             GARLAND
                             Weatherford, TX 76085             Lakeside Organic
SWEETWATER, TX               817-946-9847                      Gardening Club
Nature's Way of Sweetwater   www.wildflowersoaps.com           Meetings are held at Rohde's Nursery,
316 Oak St.                                                    the first Sunday of the month at 2:00
915 235-2274                                                   susan_c_brown@hotmail.com
                                                               972/203-9170
TAYLOR, TX
                                                               JOSHUA
Old Thyme Gardens
                                                               Old Towne Joshua
950 CR 365
                                                               Organic Garden Club
512 352-7673
                                                               Metting are held the 2nd and 4th
                                                               Sunday of every month from 3:00 to
TOOL, TX                                                       5:00
Sticks & Stones Garden                                         817/517-6100
620 N. Tool Dr. (Hwy274)
903.432.1801                                                   STEPHENVILLE
                                                               Renate Snyder In The Garden
TYLER, TX                    ABILENE                           272 South Belknap
Al H. Horaney’s, Inc.        Carolyn Wiggins                   Stephenville, TX 76401
5520 Old Jacksonville Hwy.   Jeannette St. Abilene             254/965-3710
903/939.1046                 915/673-3338 or 915/673-2802
                                                               TYLER
Aunt Cindi’s Organic         ARLINGTON                         Charles Whitehead
Market Center                Arlington Organic Garden Club     207 Atlanta Ave. Tyler, TX 75703
6134 FM 49 aka Hwy 49        Dorothy Beard                     903/509-4416
903.857.2418                 Po Box 173954                     organicnetwork@tyler.net
                             Arlington, TX 76003
                             www.aogc.com
                                      growing and produce the beautiful         scarified bluebonnets seeds
                                      blue flowers.                             germinate without any problems.

                                      Plant bluebonnet plants in a sunny        If you cannot find bluebonnet plants to
                                      location either in the ground or a        plant in your garden now, check back
Dear Big Sprout,
                                      flowerpot. Plant bluebonnets where        with the garden centers and nurseries
I want to grow bluebonnets like I
                                      they will grow undisturbed by             next fall around the first of September.
saw this spring along the
                                      cultivation and mowing. No soil
highway. Please explain how I
                                      amendments are necessary.
can do this.                                                                    If many winter weeds grow in the area
                                      Bluebonnets are a native Texas
                                                                                where the bluebonnets are growing,
                                      wildflower and the plants do not
Dear Little Sprout.                                                             mow down the winter weeds before
                                      require much water once established,
The beautiful bluebonnets we so                                                 the bluebonnets start growing in the
                                      but water will be necessary for at
enjoy along the Texas Highways                                                  spring. Mowing in the winter will not
                                      least the first week after
are available to plant in the                                                   harm the ground-hugging rosette
                                      transplanting. Most plants planted in
landscape or in a container from                                                seedlings.
                                      flowerpots during the summer will
transplants in the spring. Check      require more water than the
right away to see if there are any    bluebonnet planted in the ground.         Other wildflowers that grow in this
bluebonnet plants available at the                                              area and will extend your wildflower
garden center near your home or                                                 enjoyment are Indian paintbrush and
                                      If you want the bluebonnets to return
call other garden centers to see if                                             coreopsis. Plant Indian paintbrush and
                                      from seeds next spring, plant the
any plants are available. You                                                   coreopsis seeds in the fall
                                      seedlings in the ground where you
cannot plant bluebonnets from
                                      will not mind waiting for the seeds to
seed now even if the seeds are                                                  Big Sprout is written by Dotty
                                      mature (ripen). The bluebonnet
available. Bluebonnet seeds must                                                Woodson, Horticulture County
                                      seeds take several weeks of growing
be planted in the late summer or                                                Extension Agent, Texas Cooperative
                                      after the flowers fade to mature.
early fall so the seedlings that                                                Extension, Tarrant County. Dotty
                                      Once you see the seedpods opening,
germinates from the seed will                                                   coordinates a large Junior Master
                                      you can either collect the seeds to
enjoy the wonderful cold Texas                                                  Gardener program. Address questions
                                      plant in the late summer or allow the
winter. The bluebonnet seedling                                                 to Dotty Woodson, 401 East Eighth
                                      seeds to fall to the ground. Seeds
require the chilling of the Texas                                               Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102 or
                                      allowed to fall to the ground will not
winter to grow the flowers in the                                               call 817-884-1945 or e-mail,
                                      germinate until late summer or early
spring. The bluebonnet seed                                                     d-woodson@tamu.edu.
                                      fall. If you plant bluebonnet
germinates naturally in field in
                                      transplants in a flowerpot, collect the
early fall even through the seeds
                                      seeds to plant in the fall.
are grown and dropped by the
plant in late April or early May.
The Texas highway department          If you collect the seeds to plant next
and many volunteer                    fall, treat the seeds with a mild
organizations planted bluebonnet      solution of vinegar and water to
seeds for many years to create        soften the seed coat. Bluebonnet
the beautiful field of bluebonnets    seeds are very hard. The hard seed
everyone enjoys so much every         coat in nature is softened by months
spring.                               and years of weathering. Over time,
                                      rainwater and wind will soften the
                                      seed so water can enter the seed to
The bluebonnet plant available at
                                      germinate the seed. The Texas
garden centers were planted by
                                      highway department dispersed
plant growers in last fall so the
                                      bluebonnets seeds in some areas for
seedlings are chilled during the
                                      six years to establish a good planting.
winter just like the wildflower
                                      Seeds purchased in seed packets or
bluebonnets planted along the
                                      in bulk are treated by the seed
highways. When the weather
                                      company with an acid and are
warms in the spring, the
                                      labeled acid scarified seeds. The acid
bluebonnets seedlings start
                                        well in the spring. For the past four yrs,   A: Products with the OMRI seal are
                                        it has been puny and is thinly leafed.       usually good products and acceptable
                                        Other maples in the area are just thick      for the organic program. It would be a
                                        with foliage and look really good. Ours      good idea to cross reference the TORC
                                        is just a shadow of its former self.         (Texas Organic Research Center) list
                                        What do you think and what can we do         which you can find in the research area
                                        to thicken up its foliage? A.D., Dallas      of DirtDoctor.com. That list is the one
Q: I would like to know if Texas                                                     we abide by.
greensand would have an effect          A: Unfortunately you need to get a
on cotton root rot. I'm a central       new arborist. Of course the cutting of       Q: I am writing you as a very
Texas cotton farmer with this           the roots hurt the tree. I can give you      concerned dog owner. We recently lost
problem. K.P., Kingsbury                more advice if you send photos but the       our Scottish terrier dog to bladder
                                        Sick Tree Treatment is definitely in         cancer and our other Scottie has just
A: Yes, it will help. Anything          order. It is explained in detail on the      been diagnosed with cancer. I did some
added to the soil that helps the        DirtDoctor.com. If additional soil was       research on the internet and discovered
balance will help disease control.      added to this area, it needs to be           that Scotties are at high risk for bladder
Greensand is loaded with                removed because it would be as               cancer already, but are seven times
available trace minerals for the        damaging as the cut roots.                   more likely to get it from being exposed
plants and will help with the                                                        to pesticides used in yards. We have
building of life in the soil. On the    Q: There is very effective way of            lived in different apartment complexes,
other hand, it probably won’t cure      getting rid of mole crickets. Pour a         as well as having our yard at a previous
the disease completely by itself.       mixture of dishwashing liquid and            home sprayed by one of the local lawn
  By the way, I have never seen a       water over the lawn, within seconds          services in the past. We are about to
product green up chlorotic plants       they come out of the ground. Any             buy a new home and look forward to
faster than greensand - even            comment on this method? M.B., Dallas         getting another dog. How can I get all
before organics when I was still                                                     the chemicals out of the yard and soil?
using synthetic products.               A: Not a bad idea for a one time             How long does it take to change a yard
                                        treatment. When they are on the              from one where chemicals were used
Q: I am starting roots in water.        surface, they could be easily killed with    to a totally organic lawn? We also have
Please tell me if I need to change      a spray of orange oil. However,              a 19 month old baby that will be playing
the water daily or if I replenish it,   applying any kind of soap or detergent       in the yard. Thanks in advance for any
when I am trying to encourage a         to the soil on a regular basis will hurt     advice you can give me. K.W., Dallas
flower stem to develop roots. M.        the beneficial microbes in the soil.
M., Austin                                                                           A: Excellent decision. There are
                                        Q: I would like to know how to get rid       basically two ways to go: #1 - just go
A: You shouldn't be using water         of wild onions. I have heard that you        cold turkey. Quit the lawn drugs and
at all. All cuttings including roses    can mow them down in spring. N.G.,           begin the organic program. Put out
should be placed in organic             Fort Worth                                   zeolite at 50 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft., then
potting soil. Cuttings rooted in                                                     dry molasses at 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.
water have a hard time adjusting        A: What I recommend is to kill them          and then the first organic fertilizer
to soil later.                          with kindness. Apply dry molasses at 2-      application, unless you have already
                                        3 lbs. per 100 sq. ft., and then add 1/2"    done that. The second major feeding
Q: About 4 yrs. ago we decided          of quality compost. They are also            will be in early June and the third and
to put a tree-surround around our       edible but make sure they are onions         last in the fall. The beneficial microbes
old maple tree in the back yard.        and not crow poison which is a               from the organic inputs will slowly
We hired an arborist who                poisonous plant. You'll find more            neutralize the toxic chemicals. #2
constructed a stone tree                details on both plants in my book            choice - apply the activated carbon
surround. While he was building it      Plants for Texas.                            product Grow Safe from the NORIT
he did some rather extensive                                                         Company. It is an extremely fine
chopping on the roots of the tree       Q: When I find a product with the            textured material that is mixed with
in order to place the stones. He        (OMRI) Organic Materials Review              water and sprayed. It immediately ties
assured us that this would in no        Institute symbol on it, is this reassuring   up the toxins, then the same organic
way damage the tree. Prior to his       that it is a good organic product for my     amendments are applied that break
construction, the tree always           garden? R.B., Tyler                          down the tied up chemicals.
came out really
It's a hard product to find. Not       A: They haven't bothered to send me            Pesticides are also killing the bees
enough, but some of the organic        a sample yet. I assume that if it is truly     directly. This is another great reason to
maintenance contractors will apply     an organic fertilizer, it will be fine - but   stick with beneficial insects, nematodes
the product for you, which is a        Scott’s is mainly in the chemical              and other biological pest control
good idea because it is messy.         business. The organic materials that           techniques.
                                       are acceptable to the Texas Organic
Q: Recently on one of your radio       Research Center (TORC) are on our              Q: The raspberries in my garden have
shows I heard a listener mention a     web site at http://www.dirtdoctor.com/
                                                                                      not started to grow so is it okay to
plant that could be used to            view_org_research.php?id=5                     apply corn gluten on the row? R.B.,
substitute for sugar - I think he                                                     Frisco
called it stevie. Can you please       Q: How short should I cut my
help me? M.W., Dallas                  Bermuda grass? I have been told to             A: Yes, corn gluten meal only prevents
                                       scalp it in the spring. I thought I would      small seed from growing. It's only a pre-
A: Stevia is the herb we               ask an expert. J.S., Dallas                    emergent effect. Perennials like
discussed. It is easy to grow and                                                     raspberries will love the natural food.
extremely sweet. Everyone should       A: Scalping in the spring is a very
cut back on regular sugar. I use a     bad idea. It's hard on the equipment           Q: Is the root system of my Bradford
lot of honey, but stevia is another    and you, it wastes time, it removes            pear tree damaging my foundation?
good way to go. It is covered          valuable organic material, and it              The trees were planted by the builder. I
pretty well in my Herbs for Texas      exposes bare soil to sunlight and wind         think they are too close to the house,
book. Can be used fresh or dried.      which causes loss of moisture, loss of         but do provide shade. Should we have
Most users cook it into a sweet        carbon and loss of beneficial living           them removed? T.M., Dallas
liquid.                                organisms. The bare soil allows weed
                                       seed to germinate and the loss of              A: I have trees planted close all
Q: We had maple trees cut down         organic matter and microbes reduces            around my house and am not
and ground up. The shavings from       the fertility of the soil and turf.            concerned. That worry is overblown.
the tree sat for a few weeks and
then we threw them on our shrubs       Q: There is a new problem with honey           Reader Feedback
to use as mulch. Someone said          bees and it is not related to mites.
the natural acids of the tree may      There is mass die off happening and            Howard - your Bradford Pears article
kill our shrubs. Do we rake it off     the symptoms are new and the experts           was spot on! These trees, while
immediately or put something on        have now figured out what it going on.         attractive, are messy and regularly
to neutralize it, or do nothing? P.    We are talking about bee pollination           misused in the landscape. The concept
C., Beltsville, MD                     companies having 60 to 75 percent              of "ornamental" is not widely
                                       loss in a short period of time. The            understood, and in my neighborhood
A: Whoever told you that is            current best guess is systemic                 (Brook Meadows, Colleyville) these
goofy. Tilling fresh wood chips into   pesticides. It is normal for an                trees draw the centerpiece position, as
the soil would tie up the nitrogen,    occasional hive to leave and quickly be        though they are oaks.
but used on the surface they don't     taken over by wax moths or honey
pose the same problem. If you          beetles. A hive that is dead by CCD            Even worse, we bought an
toss a little compost on with the      (colony collapse disorder) will not get        undervalued house for which every bad
chips, the plants will do even         attacked. Nothing will eat the honey           tree decision possible had been made,
better.                                until it is removed from the hive and          including the placement of three tightly
                                       aired out for a while, except probably         packed Bradfords right by the pool,
Q: Scott's is making an "organic"      people. Albert Einstein said "if honey         shading a portion of it. They are now
fertilizer that is available at my     bees disappeared from the face of the          gone, but not without consternation
local Home Depot. I moved from         earth, within 4 years, all life would be       and the breaking of an axiom you know
the Dallas area two years ago and      gone. There is a good article at www.          so well - never remove a tree.
have been searching for an             earthfiles.com . R.S., Dallas
available quality organic fertilizer                                                  Imagine the Park Cities with Bradford
here in Mississippi. Any                                                              Pears rather than all the oaks that were
                                       A: It’s a good possibility pesticides          fortuitously planted years ago! Thanks
information on this product? L.H.,
                                       are the culprit. Pesticides are stressing      B. F. Colleyville
Petal, MI
                                       the bees and causing mites to attack.
                                                                             diatomaceous earth in-dry weather and
                                                                             beneficial nematodes anytime. For
                                                                             chiggers apply clemental sulfur at 4 lbs.
                                                                             per 1000 sq. ft. or less or spray with
                                                                             mound drench products or other plant oil
                                                                             products.

                                                                             • Cabbage loopers and other
PLANT*:                               FERTILIZE:                             caterpillars: release trichogramma wasps
                                                                             and as a last resort spray Bacillus
                                                                             thuringiensis (Bt) or the fire ant control
• All warm season lawn grasses        • All annual flowers and potted
                                                                             formula. Add one ounce of molasses per
from plugs, sod, seed, or sprigs      plants with organic fertilizers such
                                                                             gallon of Bt spray.
or by hydromulching. Zoysia           as Yum Yum mix. Spray Garrett
should only be planted in solid       Juice or aerated compost on all
soil. Also the tall prairie grasses   foliage every two weeks, or as time    • Aphids on tender, new growth: strong
from seed including big and little    and budget allows. Drench root         water blast and release ladybugs.
bluestem, Indiangrass,                zones of plants for root stimulation
switchgrass, sideoats gramma,         with Garrett Juice. Add liquid fish    • Release green lacewings and ladybugs
eastern gamma, etc.                   for more fertilizer value.             for general control.

• Tropical color in beds or pot       PRUNE:                                 • Lacebugs on azaleas, sycamores:
including bougainvillea,                                                     Spray garlic-pepper tea or one of the
mandevilla, allamanda, ixora,         • Climbing roses, after their bloom.   mound drench products such as Anti
penta, hibiscus, and others.                                                 Fuego.
                                      • Spring-flowering shrubs, vines,
• All trees and shrubs from           and trees after they have bloomed.     • Mosquitoes: mist or spray plant oil
containers. Hardened off balled
                                                                             products and apply minced or granulated
and burlapped plants also.            • “Pinch” away the growing tips of     garlic to site and potted plants. Treat skin
Always remove the burlap, soil        mums weekly.                           and/or clothes with diluted vanilla.
and ropes from the top of the root
balls.                                • Dead and misshapen growth.           • Brown patch or other fungal
                                                                             diseases: apply horticultural or whole
• Warm-season annual color
                                      WATER:                                 ground cornmeal at 10-20 lbs. per 1,000
plants: lantana, begonias, zinnia,
                                                                             sq. ft. spray and/or drench soil with garlic
periwinkle, cosmos, caladiums,
                                      • All planting areas deeply but        tea.
impatiens, verbena, and others.
                                      infrequently during dry periods.
• Perennials including cannas,                                               • Bacterial and viral diseases: spray
glads, summer bulbs, mums,            • Potted plants regularly. Add         3% hydrogen peroxide.
asters and other fall perennials.     Garrett Juice or aerated compost
                                      tea.                                   • Weeds: hand remove or use
• Ground covers including                                                    mechanical devices. Spot spray with
horseherb, Asian jasmine,             • Add lava sand and living mulch to    vinegar based products. Add 1 oz. of
English ivy, Persian ivy, purple      help conserve water.                   orange oil and 1 teaspoon of soap and 1
wintercreeper, liriope and                                                   tablespoon molasses per gallon of vinegar.
ophiopogan from 1 ¼” or 4” pots.      PEST CONTROL:
                                                                             ODD JOBS:
• Hot-weather vegetables              • Continue to release trichogramma
including southern peas, peppers,     wasps for pecan case bearer and        • Mow weekly and leave clippings on the
squash, okra, melons and other        troublesome caterpillars.              lawn. Never catch the clippings. They
warm season crops.                                                           don’t belong in the compost pile unless
                                      • Fleas and ticks: apply natural       there is a super abundance of them.
• Any and all of the herbs.
• Turn compost pile and continue                                               slightly acidic soil in partial sun, but will
to add new ingredients.                                                        tolerate poor soils, various soil pHs,
                                                                               heat, drought, and various sun or
• Mulch all bare soil with shredded                                            shade conditions. Propagated
tree trimmings from your own                                                   primarily by rooted stem cuttings, but
property or shredded cedar. Living                                             also by separation of the rooted
mulch has become my favorite. It      Kerria japonica
                                                                               suckers. Few disease or pest
contains shredded tree trimmings                                               problems, although death of the older,
and compost.                          (Rosaceae - Rose Family)                 usually central stems in the winter is
                                                                               fairly common with mature shrubs.
• Don’t forget to feed and water                                               Tolerant of heavy pruning, which can
the birds!                                                                     be used to rejuvenate old plants.
                                                                               Stems are very thin, somewhat zigzag,
* Planting recommendations based                                               and have small brown conical winter
on North Texas climate. Check                                                  buds, dead stems are white-brown,
with your local nurseries and                                                  noticeable, and often in the center of
extension service for specific                                                 mature shrubs, and should be annually
varieties and timing in your area.                                             removed every late winter or early
                                                                               spring.

                                                                               USES: Foundation, specimen, group
                                      HABIT: Small ornamental shrub,           planting, or mass planting shrub, good
                                      maturing at up to 5' tall by 6' wide,    for naturalizing in the border or in
                                      arching clump growth habit, becoming     erosion control situations. Good winter
                                      rounded with age. Rapid growth rate      stem contrast against red brick or
                                      from its basal shoots, but slow growth   white stone walls.
                                      rate from the established stems.
                                                                               PROBLEMS: Spreads underground
                                      Foliage emerging as a bright medium-     beyond its original space and is
                                      green color and changing to dark         invasive by peripheral suckers, except
                                      green as the season progresses.          in a root-restricted site (such as in a
                                      Deciduous, alternate, ovate to           raised bed, or between a sidewalk and
                                      lanceolate, doubly serrated, with        a foundation). Central stems on
                                      impressed veins and an acuminate         mature plants often dieback during
                                      apex, green to chartreuse fall color     winter (especially when sited in poorly
                                      that is persistent into November.        drained soils) and turn off-white, and
                                                                               result in necessary maintenance for
                                      Flowers are bright golden-yellow in      their selective removal in early spring.
                                      April and May and sporadically
                                      throughout the summer, 1.5" diameter     NOTES: Kerria is named after William
                                      solitary flowers can be very dense on    Kerr, who introduced the cultivar
                                      the stems if sited in full sun each      'Pleniflora'. Japonica translates as
                                      golden-yellow flower is effective for    "from Japan," where it is also grown.
                                      two to three weeks and has a good
                                      contrast against the green foliage
                                      background.

                                      Fruit is small, brown, and rnamentally
                                      inconspicuous

                                      CULTURE: Full sun to full shade and
                                      prefers a moist, rich, well-drained,
15 A Little Extra


14 AJ Southwest


08 ANTidote


27 Classic Gardens


08 Expo 2007


08 Maxicrop


14 Medina


05 Moore Tree Care


18 Muenster Natural Pet Food


09 Nature's Guide


14 Organicare


05 Rehoboth Ranch


27 Silver Creek Materials


14 Soil Mender


05 Whiz-Q Stone

03 Wildflower Soaps

				
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