24 July, 2007

You should try scrubbing down your deck with a Dr. Bronners/bleach solution to kill algae. Its more fun than drinking a bucket of snot.

I have a frenzied desire to frequent swimming holes like the ones in the old Mountain Dew commercials. Happy boys and girls swinging drunkinly from rope swings. See...I am nervous that winter is going to creep up our holler to come kick my ass. It snows in Madison county. School gets canceled for a week at time. I need a sleepover place out of sheer practicality.


Anonymous said...

In recent years there has grown up in this country a cult of misguided people who call themselves "organic farmers" and who would - if they could - destroy the chemical fertilizer industry on which so much of our agriculture depends.

These so-called organic farmers preach a strange, two-pronged doctrine compounded mainly of pure superstition and myth, with just enough half-truth, pseudo science and emotion thrown in to make their statements sound plausible to the uninformed.

One prong of their doctrine is a ruthless attack on chemical fertilizers, based on the preposterous supposition that such commercial plant foods "poison" the soil, destroy beneficial soil organisms such as earthworms, make crops more susceptible to attacks by insects and diseases, encourage weeds, and damage the health of livestock and humans who eat the crops so fertilized. It has been darkly hinted by the apostles of this organic farming creed that such things as decayed teeth, cancer, apoplexy and cirrhosis of the liver trace back to farmers' use of chemicals.

The positive side of their ridiculous dogma is a flat claim that organic matter alone is the answer to better crops and improved nutrition. All you have to do to grow perfect crops, insist these faddists, is to follow certain rituals involving composts and otherwise using organic matter in the soil. Such "organically farmed" crops are supposed to yield more, to be free of insects and diseases, and to have wonderful health-giving qualities for the animals or humans who consume them. If this were true, it would be impossible for us to produce our food requirements, because all of the manure, leaves, twigs grass clippings and crop residues available would fall far short of meeting the need.

In other words, these men who have appropriated use of the word organic are saying that all soil scientists are wrong and that they are right. They are, in effect, saying that farmers are wrong in using almost 20 million tons of commercial fertilizers a year. They are asking that painstaking research results of many generations be cast aside. These cultists apparently believe that by a play on words such as "natural", "chemical" and "organic", they have the key to an immortal truth. Strange as it may seem, those who attack the use of fertilizers have little or no reason to use them, as they usually aren't making their living by farming. Many of them are folks who garden or farm for recreation.

Now, superstitions about soils and fads in nutrition aren't new. They come and go. At first, when questions began coming to me about this one, I wasn't disturbed. But as they persisted and the antifertilizer crusade mounted, I began to fear that such misinformation could damage the status of important agricultural research. One uninformed writer said in a letter that the experiment stations were so heavily subsidized by the fertilizer industry that research workers were not free to tell the truth. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and such statements should not go unchallenged.

What is behind the broad pro and con claims of the organic farmer ? The answer is simple and provable: Bunk.

Let's clear up one point now. This cult has sought to appropriate a good word "organic", and has twisted its meaning to cover a whole crazy doctrine. The facts are that organic matter in its true sense is an important component of the soil - but soil fertility and the kind of crops you grow on a soil are not determined by humus alone. Soil fertility is determined by the amount of active organic matter, the amount of available mineral nutrients, the activities of soil organisms, chemical activities in the soil solution and the physical condition of the soil.

Ever since we have had soil scientists, they have recognized the values of organic matter. The loss of soil humus through cultivation has long been a matter of concern. So the faddists have nothing new to offer on that score. Organic matter is often called "the life of the soil" because it supplies most of the food needs of the soil organisms which aid in changing nonavailable plant food materials into forms-that are available to the plants, and contains small quantities of practically all plant nutrients. It also is a soil conditioner, bringing about beneficial chemical and physical changes. It has a tremendous influence on the tilth of the soil, and on ability of soil to absorb and retain water.

The chemical role of organic matter is particularly important, as it is the storehouse for the reserve nitrogen supply. When soil nitrogen is not combined with organic matter it can be lost rapidly by leaching. Considerable phosphorus and small quantities of practically all other mineral elements in the soil are made available via the organic matter.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughtful imput.But isn't "cult" a strong word for farming without chemicals?
Furthermore, many small farmers are foregoing the "organic " status with all of its fluff and governmental standards are claiming to be be "natural" and "local."

On one last note. How can we not be critical of chemical substances?
The past has proven the side effects that were un predicted.
Keeps the balance don't ya think?