Composting with Chemicals?

I’ve always included composting in my lectures, and with my Personal Garden Coach clients. When I start, I’m always interrupted with the question of, “What’s the ratio of browns and greens?” Well, that’s always in the lecture, but a very important topic here that needs to always be addressed is, “What do you apply to your lawn if that’s part of your greens?” Then, there’s the silence.
If you are an ad follower, with those “Do this now, and in 8 weeks do this”, or “Buy this now, get this half off”, then I need to go towards the subject of, “Why?” Those bagged fertilizer companies are in it for the almighty dollar. No concern about your health, after all, the warnings are on the bag, in either the smallest print available, or mismatched colors of font and background that makes you dizzy just trying to get the first few words… And there’s always a chemical product to counter the wrong timing.
Let’s see what you apply, and why. First off, is the big main ads that come in the late Winter of Pre-emergent and Weed and Feed. Pre-em is most times a good thing, IF, you had a bad weed issue before, which means, you are not gardening the soil, first. I can cruise any neighborhood, and tell who is an “Ad Follower”. Remember, there is always another chemical out there to counter what you did wrong. They will tell you, wrong on purpose, remember, it’s their stock holders paycheck. You look at me, and say, “But the picture on the chart, this is next, right? Get to that in a bit.
Now we have an ad in Mid Summer, with fertilizer and bug killer. If you notice, at the same time, there is a chemical also there, to control Bermuda Grass in your Fescue Lawn. Well, you just fed it, with the fertilizer in the “Summer Feeding”. Warm Season grasses vs. Cool Season. Hmm.
Back to the Weed and Feeds. The chemical 2-4d is most times the “Killer”. The bag says “Control”, and you would think it was a “Preventer”, a control right? Only thing it controls, is ending the life of the broad leaf plant it lands on. Don’t get confused with that. As any seed germinates, the leaves form on a stalk, which are then above the chemical, and can’t be taken in by that plant. The other pellets in the lawn, can stay there for up to 4 years, if there is no weed to consume the chemical. You walk in it, kids play in it, pets lick their feet after being in it. It’s also used in hay fields to feed Horses and Cows. It’s sprayed over the crops to kill unwanted weeds, to make the hay more, pure. Livestock can eliminate it in their waste that most use as compost… Remember the active for 4 years? Glyphosate is also sprayed to control the harvest time by “killing” the crop all at once so the drying time is controlled. More on that in a minute.
The best way to gain control of your “footprint” is change the channel when these commercials come on, toss the ads, and communicate with your local County Extension Office, or find a Garden Coach. Keep “Sustainable Gardening” in the background of your mind, and change. You are eating these chemicals. There was an article from, I believe from a professor at Cornell, that was a study on pelleted 2-4d and Feline Leukemia. Think about it, they dig, do it, cover it, and then lick their paws. There is also some speculation on “Chemically induced Autism” out there, but that’s something you should pursue, I have, it’s scary. Weed and Feeds are the number one fertilizer class seller in the big box stores because it is in the run 12 months a year now. Didn’t used to be, because they dropped the phrase “Weed Killer” on the bags to a more consumer environmentally friendly “Weed Control”. Should say “Once Upon a Time”, like any other fairy tale.
Back to the lecture. So I always have to go here, and the silence, is still in the air, mouths open, no blinking anywhere. I end this part by simplifying. “If you use any chemicals on your lawn, do not include it in your compost. If you get free manure, ask the livestock owner, where they get their hay, and does that farmer use 2-4d. Garden your soil and feed properly, you won’t need chemicals”. Composted manure can contain 2-4d, and kill your gardens. I myself have seen this from new clients. “Can’t get my veggies to grow”. When I see the composted manure, I ask about the hay, not the Cow, and see confusion in their eyes.. So they call, get the answer, and always look at me and ask how did I know and what they should do. “Move your garden and start over”. When I ride thru a neighborhood, I can tell who follows a certain “4 step” program. There will be Crabgrass at the upper part of the lawn, then nice, and at the bottom, nothing, not even weeds. Pendimethalin is the chemical in a widely advertised pre-emergent. It is a gas barrier that forms at the base of your thatch bed in your lawn, stopping most all germination, But, it can “slide” down the slope, leaving the top unprotected. Crabgrass germinates 3 times a year. Wait, there is a chemical that “controls” (kills) it, “Apply it NOW” they will tell you.. But wait… I, um… Didn’t read the bag..
If ever, you have a question about any chemical or product, MSDS.com is a great place. Don’t surf it at night, you will have bad dreams. Most everyone has a smartphone of sorts. Take a pic of the label, then expand it to READ it. You just may find the “ad”, is wrong. There are several “Sustainable Gardening” sites out there, and it should be a priority to you, to find them. Also remember that anything in a bagged product that is labeled as “Organic” only has to be 85% organic material, the other 15% they don’t have to divulge by Federal Law, so they can keep ahead of the other vendors. Processed food is different a labeling process in “Organic”. There are 3 levels, but that’s a different lecture topic.
Just think about what second hand chemicals you are using in your compost.

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