Monday, August 8, 2016

Compost pile Tips, Part I - Uninvited chemicals/toxins in your compost pile

      No toxic chemicals on The Garry Farm plants or trees or vegetables/fruits.  No thank you!
That compost pile you have been working on for days, weeks , months and in some cases years may have herbicides and other dangers lurking in it.....That you put in unknowingly.....I'm assuming you want to have natural and healthy compost pile so you can either incorporate it in with your soil or make that lovely compost tea. 

Whether or not you want it to be 100% organic is up to you, but I know of no one who needs or wants to be dosed with herbicides from their compost pile, I know for sure, I do not! 

Now let's focus on those unintended toxins in the compost pile that you don't want on your plants and trees.  And talk a bit on how they may have gotten there in the first place! 

Names of common toxic herbicides are "Aminopyralid, clopyralid, fluroxypyr, picloram, and triclopyr are some of the most common and prevalent  known as pyridine carboxylic acids."  Now, some of the weeds they kill can sicken and kill farm animals.  What we do is hand pull those weeds.  Takes a long time but it's the way we operate.  If we are not steady on the job of looking for and destroying these, our goats can get ill and even die.  Our goats for us are a source of milk and also our great friends.  

Dow Chemical maker of pyridines has a 12 page document and says it's fine to have for pasture and cereal crops but not for tomatoes, potatoes etc and not for compost.  I per sonally disagree and pray this is yet another reason I am committed to make our own cereals, and carefully source out all the grains that we use but don't grow.  Now to give Dow it's due here's is their introductory lines to their 12 page summary about issues relative to pyridine.  They have truly seemed to minimize the dangers but they are in this for the economics .......they want to sell this as a safe product but realize that they are being scrutinized or a 12 page "consumer friendly" doc would not be out there.   Here it is from Dow "It is possible for some herbicides to end up in hay, silage,animal manure, compost usedfor soil amelioration,mushroom substrates, plant mulches and animal bedding.Through product stewardship, Dow AgroSciences strives to minimise the potential for herbicide residues in treated crops to transfer through animals to composts and mulches.This stewardship is done either with potentially affected industries and/or the product label" Dow Agro document found here

Now here is a more independent article about Herbicide from Oregon State University written for small farmers (I hope all farmers will read as well).  It explains the dangers of buying and getting for free animal compost that doesn’t kill the animals it feeds but can harm your plants.  Don’t blame the farmer or backyard hobbyist.  S/he likely didn’t do any of the field spraying even if s/he planted the hay. Some sprays stay in the ground for years.  The individual may have recently bought the place and be assuming there was nothing dangerous without testing specifically for toxins and since his/her animals were fine, thinking, okay all is well.  

When the sides of the roads are sprayed, they can get on  your land.  I would like all spraying on our road stopped and if we can catch the sprayers, they usually are glad to move on.   The only requirement about the spray is that it shall not be toxic to animals or humans at prescribed doses.  My lungs are fragile, and they cannot take the spray in the air. I can easily get what known as chemical pneumonia if I am in the presence of chemical spraying on lands. Spraying seems to be less and less due to expenses of the toxins.  I wish there were a state and Federal initial to do away with the use of all public funds in spraying and use of toxins.  and I am glad of that and from my humble opinion even though we are trying to maintain the right of way..... THIS is the “wrong of way” to do so.  Certainly there could be some collaborative effort or solution to the problem of the seemly right of way. I would prefer a wildflower row on the roadside.  Even if we planted them, they would be sprayed.  

Another tip for this compost blog: About those clippings of grass and leaves.  Unless they are from your farm, you are risking getting chemicals of several kinds.  Oh it’s tempting to get those bags ready to go, but you may be poisoning the very mulch pile you are trying to grow to feed your self or others food.  

If you have ever met me, you know we repeatedly say, that you should feed your soul, mind and body well.  Ask everything you can about all farm products you buy, including compost, old hay etc.   I'll add another blog on compost when time allows.  Hope this was helpful.  Feel free to share, but please link its source to our blog.  Thank you,  The Garry Farm,  Bowdon, GA    Nancy Garry