Herbicide Residues in Purchased Compost or Manure

If you’re purchasing your compost or manures (or even topsoil) be aware that herbicide residues do exist and can create conditions that restrict the growth of plants.

For example, aminopyralid is registered for a wide variety of crops and has created enough problems in the UK to have its registration pulled (technically Dow asked to have it pulled)

Having said that, the residue does persist in manure and composts so if you purchase products with residues, you might see stunting and leaf curl on susceptible plants such as tomatoes.

This would be early in the season and not later. So as soon as the plant roots start to grow out of the starter media and expand into the soil, they’re going to do poorly. If you’re seeing later problems, it is something else.

As a note, tomato seedlings are great starter plants for testing of almost any kind of herbicide residue – darn near anything will kill them and they’re a marker plant for that kind of testing.

So if you’re not sure – try some tomato seedlings in new soils.

Here’s a great resource for herbicide persistence from Penn State.

This is one more reason to produce your own compost to encourage micro-organism spread. Organic matter can be obtained from other things – from peat to leaves (it’s about time to go hunting for all the leaves nobody else wants) to purchasing straw.

In any case, it was a lesson remembered for me and I thought I’d pass it along.

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Cancer rates increase on childhood exposure to ag-chemicals

Need a reason to go organic if you have kids? James Brophy – the lead researcher on this study – of the University of Guelph, ON, Canada found that women growing up on farms were more likely to have cancer than other populations.

Turns out the estrogen-mimicking chemicals now used in farming (and gardening) “have a profound effect on people’s cancer risk and other health impacts” – particularly if the exposure timing is right in their stage of development.

In other words, if the chemical is present when biological switches are being turned – the results may be different than women not exposed to these chemicals. So the women out helping on the farm and garden were exposed as children and this exposure created problems later in life.

This, of course, raises the question of whether you use herbicides and pesticides in your garden and lawn. If you do and your children go into the garden or onto the lawn, then the exposure is a done-deal.

I simply can’t understand why you’d trade in your future health for a bit of convenience today.

Park, Robert & Brophy, James & Keith, Margaret & Watterson, Andrew & Gilbertson, Michael. (2013). Breast cancer, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors: A Canadian occupational study and strategy for future investigation.

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