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How to live without Glyphosate

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default How to live without Glyphosate

Post by Dandelion on 5th July 2013, 10:51 pm

Once it seems some organic gardeners would allow the use of Glyphosate (Roundup). But now if recent research is true, the US Govt are increasing the amount of the chemical which can legally be allowed as a residue in food. Maybe this is because some GM crops are being specifically bred to be Roundup resistant. Another related piece of news stated that a high proportion of UK residents (I think it was 70% in some areas) have had Roundup detected in their urine.
I will come clean - it was a product I used to use (although occasionally and sparingly, in areas where weeding was difficult) but I am now going to do without it. My personal mission began tonight - as an experiment I took the pan of potatoes outside and drained them over the weeds on the path, assuming that hot salty water would kill them. (I think it actually cooked them!) I can't see my crusade doing much financial damage to Monsanto, as I could make a botle of the stuff last for three or four years, but I reckon it's a start.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: How to live without Glyphosate

Post by freebird on 6th July 2013, 8:51 am

That's a tricky one for me, Dandelion. If I don't use the stuff, I may as well give up gardening. My garden became badly weed-infested when I got too busy to attend to it, and then moved away for 4 years and let the property. It's a constant battle with mega-brambles and bindweed. Where ever I can, I dig them out, but at the boundaries with concrete gravel boards under the fence, and next to paths, or around long-established shrubs, I feel I have no option but to use a systemic weedkiller.

I'm currently trying to clear more of the garden to plant flowers - I've never had a flower garden in the 30 years I've been at this house. My latest approach is to clear a patch as well as I can, then plant it with annuals. This gives me a chance to see what pernicious weeds are still giving trouble. Most I pull out, but if it's bindweed or bramble, I use weedkiller directly on the plant. The whole plot will be dug over again when the annuals are finished, so hopefully it will be in a better state to start permanent planting next year.

I try to keep my use of systemics to a minimum, and where I do use them, spray the plant only. But I do feel it's the only chance I have of making any headway.
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default Re: How to live without Glyphosate

Post by Dandelion on 6th July 2013, 3:56 pm

For me it's mainly because I don't like the thought of a multi-national like Monsanto having such control over horticulture and agriculture, but I don't have pernicious weeds like bindweed so it's probably not that big a decision. The other weedkiller I used to use which was based on Ammonium Sulphamate has been withdrawn for use for a few years now. I liked the fact that it degraded to ammonium sulphate which was actually beneficial to the soil.
I have to say that the dandelions are looking quite dead (well, quite boiled actually) today - it could all have come to grief though, as I could have dropped the potatoes all over the patio, or poured the water over my flip-flopped feet.
Does anyone else try other methods of weed killing

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: How to live without Glyphosate

Post by Chilli-head on 6th July 2013, 5:03 pm

Ahh.  A difficult topic for me.  As some of you may know, my business is in weed control machinery - mostly machine vison guided mechanical weeders, but of late we've been working on machines to precisely target herbicides (glyphosate principally) amongst crop.  We even work with some of those big multinationals including the one beginning with M.

A couple of things that bother me about glyphosate use.  First is the pre-harvest use in cereal crops.  You may not be aware of this, but it is considered acceptable practice to spray cereal crops shortly before harvest, principally to kill weeds that might choke the harvester, but also sometimes to speed along senescence (ripening) a bit to get the harvest in.  If that doesn't leave residues I don't know what will.

The other issue is that although glyphosate does degrade in soil, it is widely used on hard standing - roads, pavements, railway track.  Here it never contacts soil, but may be washed off contaminating surface water.

So, although I am uneasy about it, I do also use a bit at the allotment.  I have horsetails, which are not suceptible to hoeing or digging out (without a JCB).  Mind you, glyphosate doesn't do much to them either ...

Freebird, I agree with your method of spraying only weeds (that's what we're trying to do by machine !).  Other tips for glyphosate use are timing - a late summer application can get drawn down to the roots as the plant dies back - works even for the dreaded Japanese knotweed.  The other tip is to use The Gauntlets of Doom.  Don a pair of marigolds, then a pair of cotton gloves.  Dip your hands in glyphosate, and scrunch what you want to die in your hands.  The mechanical damage helps the glyposate get inside the plant.

Pelargonic acid seems to be growing in popularity as a domestic weedkiller, it is contact rather than systemic, but, being a naturally occuring chemical (in pelargoniums, unsurprisingly), it is possibly acceptable in organic use (?). Some also report sucess with vinegar as a weedkiller, but it is probably technically illegal (preparing an agrochemical needs approval).

Alternatives to weedkiller - hoeing, hoeing, more hoeing.  I really like the wolf push/pull weeder, it is a simple but excellent design,  which I must have gone on about here before, I'm sure ...
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default Re: How to live without Glyphosate

Post by freebird on 6th July 2013, 7:12 pm

Dandelion, I've never tried draining the potatoes on the weeds until I read your post - so guess what I've just done.....cue middle aged woman, pan of potatoes in hand, draining the boiling water onto the patio weeds and giggling.
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default Re: How to live without Glyphosate

Post by Dandelion on 6th July 2013, 10:42 pm

Just mind your feet FB....

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: How to live without Glyphosate

Post by Dandelion on 6th July 2013, 10:48 pm

Chilli-head wrote:


So, although I am uneasy about it, I do also use a bit at the allotment.  I have horsetails, which are not suceptible to hoeing or digging out (without a JCB).  Mind you, glyphosate doesn't do much to them either ...


There was an interesting article in today's Times in the money section, about house sales which have fallen through when Japanese Knotweed has been discovered when the property was surveyed (or worse still not discovered at first...) - the firms who are specialising in Knotweed killing charge between £2k and £3k, and it can take quite a few years for the weed to be eradicated. That's a lot of pans of potatoes...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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