Gardening Articles for week ending 8th JULY 2017
Written by Wally Richards.
I have written about this subject many times because it is a major part of gardening activities.
Firstly weeds is the term used to name any plant growing where you do not want it to grow.
Desired plants that you want to grow , can produce weed plants though seeding or suckering.
The parent you want but the prodigy you do not.
The very best way to control weeds is to cut them off just below ground level with a sharp knife and leave the foliage laying on the soil to be absorbed back into the earth, providing high value nutrients.
The best time to control weeds using this method is as soon after they germinate as possible and at the latest before they set seed.
This method can be used whether the soil is wet or dry.
The next alternative is to pull weeds out and this can only be done successfully when the soil is wet, which means the roots cant hold on.
Shake the soil off and best put the weeds into the compost to prevent re-rooting back into the wet soil.
If you dont have a compost bin then lay on a concrete path to dry in the sun then place back onto bare soil to rot down. The big disadvantage with the pull out method is it breaks the beneficial fungi in the soil and disrupts the soil life.
The common way in the past was to dig the garden over and bury the weeds under the clods.
Some vegetable gardeners still prefer this way and will turn over the whole vegetable garden that is free of winter crops and then lime the exposed soil.
There are many things that can be either sprayed onto weeds or sprinkled over them such as sodium chloride (Sea Salt or table salt though sea salt is better longer term for the soil; best used on paths, cobbles and waste areas) Vinegar any type, malt, white or cider sprayed on weeds in full sun when soil is on dry side.
Nitrogen such as sulphate of ammonia, potassium nitrate, ammonium sulphamate, oils such any cooking oil as a spray in sunlight will burn foliage, boiling water, weed burners, steam cleaners and weed eaters.
There are ample alternatives to use instead of chemical herbicides.
Some are more effective than others. They will kill annual weeds but some will only knock back most perennial weeds which can come again..
These days just about all general herbicide sprays sold to the home garden market contain glyphosate which is the active ingredient in the original one, Roundup by Monsanto.
There are a few specialized ones for certain problems using different chemicals rather than glyphosate.
The only non chemical one as far as I am aware is one using pine oil.
If you want to use an oil to dehydrate the foliage a cheap cooking oil is all that you need to buy in bulk and to mix it with water you need to add an emulsifier to the oil such as dish washing liquid before you add the water. A bit of experimentation and you can find out ratios for various weeds.
It may pay to look for alternatives as glyphosate and Monsanto are continuing to get bad publicity particularly as glyphosate being a probable carcinogenic. Some scientists have shown it is carcinogenic which is very likely the real story.
In April of this year the following took place in the Hague:
The Monsanto Tribunal was an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations and ecocide. Eminent judges heard testimonies from victims and experts. Then, they delivered a legal opinion following procedures of the International Court of Justice (on April 18th 2017, The Hague).
They concluded that Monsanto’s activities have a negative impact on basic human rights. Besides, better regulations are needed to protect the victims of multinational corporations.
Eventually, international law should be improved for better protection of the environment and include the crime of ecocide. Now, it is up to us, the civil society, to spread the conclusions of the Monsanto Tribunal and push for these essential changes. (Interestingly there was virtually nothing said in Main Stream Media about this event)
The most recent upset for glyphosate has just taken place in California.(From the Net we have)
In a significant victory for consumer safety and a devastating blow to Monsanto California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has declared that glyphosate weed killer is a known, cancer-causing carcinogen that will be added to the scope of Proposition 65.
Glyphosate weed killer, also sold under the Roundup brand name by Monsanto, is identified by California under CAS #107-83-6, which lists “cancer” as a known endpoint, and invokes “LC” (Labor Code) as the justification for the categorization.
“The listing is the latest legal setback for the seeds and chemicals company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is “probably carcinogenic” in a controversial ruling in 2015,” reports Reuters, which has a pro-GMO bias.
Beginning July 7th, retailers in California must add cancer warning labels to glyphosate products. Unfortunately, cancer warnings will not be required on foods sprayed with glyphosate or grocery products saturated with the cancer-causing herbicide.
Many non-GMO crops such as wheat and barley are currently sprayed with glyphosate to speed their drying in the fields before harvest.
This means that glyphosate contamination is now commonly found even on crops that are not genetically engineered, and it’s now a common contaminant in non-organic wheat products such as cereals, breads and muffins.
( It would appear that this is also the case in NZ. Some thing to think about is: It could be that Gluten intolerance is actually more so glyphosate sensitivity)
The mounting number of lawsuits against Monsanto for its cancer-causing Roundup herbicide is increasingly looking very similar to the lawsuits against Big Tobacco that coalesced in the 1990s.
In fact, many of today’s Monsanto propagandists and industry shills were also bought-and-paid-for P.R. operatives for the tobacco industry, which spent decades in total denial over the link between cigarette smoke and cancer.
It would be prudent for retailers of glyphosate products to place warnings at point of sale which would prevent any future class actions against the retailer as they have given adequate warning removing any possible litigation.
Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Web site www.gardenews.co.nz