Gasps, at least.
The Manic was hacked and re-hacked; down for almost two years, it’s been only recently revived. There are multiple issues, I know, including a plethora of broken links. I’ll get to them, but it’ll take a while, so I depend on your patience. Thanks!
The Back Story
I grew up in an apartment in Manhattan, so anything green seemed natural to me. It’s only much more recently that I’ve come to see lawns as man-made objects imposed on the environment—often an unforgiving and unreceptive environment.
Then Eric Vinge of Planet Natural asked me to write an article on organic lawn care. Writing that article (A Home-Owner’s Guide to Organic Lawn Care: Maintaining a Chemical-Free Lawn) was my education in lawn-care pesticides and other chemicals, and it was quite a class. Obviously, I started with a strong bias towards the organic point of view. But I have a strong skeptical streak, and I decided to trace every claim about rising cancer rates and endocrine disruption, about tracked-in chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the rest to either a university or a government study.
You know what I found? It was all true. All those claims about contaminated well-water and streams, the danger of childhood exposure, reproductive disorders—they’re all true.
This show is an attempt to share some of what I learned. Continue reading
This is a conversation with Atina Diffley about the loss of one organic farm to development and the fight to protect its replacement from an oil pipeline. She talks about the ecological damage and spiritual wounds she, her children, their father, and his family farm suffered when The Gardens of Eagen went piecemeal under the bulldozer. Then she describes how she took on the Koch brothers and won. Her memoir Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works came out this spring.
Here’s a picture of Lee Reich’s garden:
Either he knows a lot about gardening, or he’s a whiz at Photoshop. I’m betting on the first, which is why I interviewed him for this week’s podcast, The Weed-Free Garden.
Lee has a four-part system for beating the weeds:
- – Don’t disturb the soil. (prevents buried weed seeds from surfacing and germinating.)
- – Set up permanent beds and paths. (so you won’t have to till to aerate the soil.)
- – Keep the soil covered at all times. (so weeds can’t get established.)
- – Use drip irrigation where irrigation is needed. (prevents disease in a densely planted bed, saves water, and puts the water where it’s needed: in the root zone.) Continue reading
The manure problems—pollution and contamination—that I reviewed in my last post occupy the first part of this podcast, and if that were all we covered, you too might be inclined to crawl under your desk and stay there.
A quick recap: Rather to the surprise of many an organic gardener, even organic manures can cause problems: phosphorus can contaminate surface water, while nitrogen can leak into ground water and can also form nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas almost 300 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. Continue reading