November 17, 2010

Is "Safe-For-Pet" Snail Bait Really Safe?

I came across this: Iron Phosphate Slug Bait Warning, because we caught our little dog eating Sluggo in the garden. You should read it and decide for yourself. From the post,

Iron phosphate is non-toxic to both humans and dogs, as well as other pets and wildlife. Studies also show that it is equally non-toxic to slugs and snails, because it does not release its load of poisonous elemental iron very easily. If this is the case, why do other studies show that it is a very effective product that rivals the metaldehyde baits? How can these baits made of nothing but iron phosphate and wheat gluten be as effective as they are shown to be when other studies show that snails can live indefinitely on a diet of iron phosphate?

Enter a man-made chemical called EDTA, a chelating agent that causes the iron phosphate to release its elemental iron easily in the digestive systems of not only slugs and snails but of pretty much anything that eats it. EDTA or the similar EDDS are the only reason these baits are effective, yet interestingly the label only reads Active Ingredient: Iron Phosphate - 1%, Inert Ingredients - 99%. No mention is made of the presence of another chemical that can turn harmless iron phosphate into a deadly poison. Apparently EDTA was slipped through the cracks in our regulatory system as an "inert" ingredient, and inert ingredients do not have to be listed on the label. Since iron phosphate is harmless, and EDTA is the ingredient that makes it effective, not to mention dangerous, something is really wrong here.

That let me to this article, Gardners Beware of So-Called Pet-Safe Slug Bait, (click through for links and the rest of the article)

We recently treated two patients at DoveLewis who consumed so-called pet safe slug bait for iron toxicity. Iron levels were found to be within the toxic range for one patient. Both patients survived their ordeal.
Pet owners should be aware that iron phosphate is toxic to animals if they eat it. The Animal Poison Control Center lists these symptoms as signs of iron phosphate toxicity:
• Lethargy and vomiting for the first 30 minutes and up to two hours after ingestion
• Vomit may contain blood due to iron irritation to the gastro-intestinal tract
• Severe dehydration and collapse due to prolonged vomiting.

We will keep an eye on our dog for any of the symptoms. Be careful, it says iron in a dog's blood can build up over time.

October 21, 2010

The 5 Crops You Need To Grow

Potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs. (Do you "grow" eggs?)

Food in Uncertain Times: How to Grow and Store the 5 Crops You Need to Survive,

So the first thing I would say is, garden if you can and if you enjoy it. Whether you garden right now or not, though, learn more about how to store and use the food that is grown locally.

[. . .] After incorporating potatoes into their repertoire, European populations thrived and expanded, erratic weather, Little Ice Age, or no.

... Grains and beans are the ultimate survival crops because they are so long-storing.

... We grow corn, the easiest of all grains to grow and process on a small scale. Corn is also, in areas where it grows well, by far the highest yielding of the grains. In addition, unlike the small grains, you can grow corn with nothing but a shovel or heavy hoe.

March 19, 2009

There Will Be A White House Vegetable Garden

In January I wrote about different groups suggesting there be a White House vegetable garden.  Well now there is some great news: Obamas Prepare to Plant White House Vegetable Garden,

On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II.

. . . While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern. In an interview in her office, Mrs. Obama said, “My hope is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

. . .Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, would probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”

This is wonderful news!

January 24, 2009

New Home Buyers Want To Grow Food

From the story, Say goodbye to McMansions, homes are getting 'right-sized',
According to the Better Homes and Gardens study, top priorities in a new home include an affordable price, natural light and comfortable family gathering places. The era of super-sizing may be ending, Butler said, with buyers looking for a home that is "right-sized, organized and economized."
. . .
  • Green elements. Ninety percent of those who participated in the Better Homes and Gardens survey said they're planning to have energy-efficient heating and cooling systems in their next home and 31% plan to have geo-thermal heat, Butler said. There has also been increased interest in home gardens, with more people wanting to know where their food is grown, said Robin Avni, senior director and consumer strategist for the firm Iconoculture, a cultural trend research firm. "The green theme touches everything in the home, from the food we look to consume, our health concerns in the home, building -- even our furnishings in the home," Avni said. (emphasis added)

January 16, 2009

A Vegetable Garden at the White House

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse has written an open letter to Barack Obama, asking for a garden at the White House as an example. You can read it at Alice Waters's Open Letter to the Obamas: Food Politics. Here is an excerpt,
Of course, I cannot forget the vision I have had since 1993 of a beautiful vegetable garden on the White House lawn. It would demonstrate to the nation and to the world our priority of stewardship of the land—a true victory garden!