I received a surprising and significant email yesterday from a representative of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. I felt obliged to post and share the body of it with you as it contains important and relative information to consider as our garden seasons (In the Northern Hemisphere) begin to ramp up.
As the garden season ramps up, we at Mother Earth News want to let you and A Posse Ad Esse readers know that you may want to screen any hay, grass clippings or compost you bring into your gardens, to assure the materials are not contaminated with persistent herbicide residues (most often clopyralid and aminopyralid). As our reports included below indicate, these chemical residues can kill plants or severely stunt their production, costing gardeners money and time.
What do you need to know about contaminated compost?
•Affected plants show signs of curled, cupped leaves, wilting new growth and poor germination in tomatoes, peas, beans, lettuce and other garden crops.
•The chemical residues causing the problem can be present in grass clippings, in manure of livestock that has eaten sprayed plant matter or in compost made from contaminated materials. These herbicides do not biodegrade during composting and can persist in your soil for several years.
•Contaminated materials have been found in municipal, organic and conventional bagged compost.
•To prevent contamination, ask questions before buying manure or compost that contains manure. If the seller doesn’t know if it’s safe, don’t buy it, or use this cheap and easy home test to be sure it’s safe.
•Anyone who suspects they have detected contaminated material should notify their local Extension agent and news media, as well as Richard Keigwin at the EPA and the product manufacturer (if purchased).
This information isn't new, as you can tell from the dates of the linked articles. However, it is still very relevant. I can't help to think how much of an argument this makes for continuing to make any little steps that we can towards becoming more and more "closed loop" in our own gardens. By learning to make our own compost or building lasagna gardens and growing polyculture gardens with attention to the natural world we can go a long way towards that.
A few of my related Links:
Cooking in the garden
New Additions (Worms and kitchen scraps)
Compost Day IV
Compost Day III
Compost Day II
Compost Day I
Starting a Lasagna Garden
Hope something in there is of some small help!
Thank you Brandy, I appreciate your concern for my garden and my readers as well!