Posts Tagged ‘organic’


Years ago when I was in a neurobiology lab studying the effects of drugs on nerves, it dawned on me – why use synthetic pesticides when you can cook up some of the most bug-toxic stuff in your own kitchen? Nicotine and caffeine, two of the world’s most popular drugs, are LETHAL to insects. Here’s how to put this to good use in the coming “aphids are eating my garden” season.

First, take  some tobacco – equivalent to about two cigarettes should do it, and two table spoons of ground coffee – DON’T USE DECAF -the caffeine is what you are looking for. Go ahead and use more of both if you like (I cooked up the first batch of this simply by cleaning up the cigarettes butts my smoking roommates left on the back patio).  Soak this in rubbing alcohol – maybe a half cup or so (or high-proof vodka, if that’s more convenient, it will also help make this more fun -soak longer with vodka as it isn’t as strong alcohol-wise) for a week or so. With a funnel and a coffee filter, drain off the resulting dark brown stinky fluid into a 1 liter spray bottle. This alone with some water will be pretty bad, but there’s something you need to do to make it better.

Bugs breathe through pores in their skin, and this stuff will kill much quicker if you can get it in there better. Also, its good to have some repellent qualities to this stuff, so lets juice it up.

Add several dashes of the hottest hot pepper sauce you can get –Capsaicin is what you want – pepper spray would do the trick too, but be careful if you try that – spraying into the bottle could get you covered in nastiness (trust me on this one).  Next fill the bottle with water. Finally, add  good squirt of liquid dish soap.  Why the soap, you ask? It’s because of the bug breathing pores (spiracles for the geeks out there) – the soap helps break the surface tension of the liquid and allows it to enter these pores much more easily. Don’t use very much soap – too much and the spray bottle will fail as the liquid foams in the mechanism.

Give it a little shake to mix it up. Let it settle.

This stuff is almost instantly fatal to aphids, and will kill most any other insect eventually if sprayed directly on them. And your plants won’t care one bit about it. And to us mammals, it’s effectivly non toxic – DON’T DRINK IT THOUGH – the nicotine from two cigarettes CAN KILL YOU if you drink it. Shouldn’t be hard to avoid drinking it though, it STINKS.

Also, DO NOT SPRAY UPWIND – trust me, you don’t want to get a face-full of this spray.

So, yeah, it’s smelly, but would you rather be spraying some synthetic chemicals made by a mega corp?

Think about it.

MJ

PS – for aphid control, spray the UNDERSIDE of plant leaves – that’s where aphids feed.

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This will be short.  Many of us are leery of genetically modified food. Some of Monsanto’s most widely used corn and soybean products are modified to resist  Roundup ( a product I have used, but not anymore. It’s terrifying what it does to most plants) so this allows farmers to use this toxic stuff by spraying it all over their fields – tada, no weeds. No other plant life at all, actually.  And a field covered in one of the nastiest chemicals I’ve ever seen.

Then they irrigate. And that water runs into the soil, taking Roundup with it.

Where do you think that water goes?  Into groundwater supplies and into the broader environment.  Does that sound good to you?  Roundup in the groundwater? Corn drenched with poison that kills other plants in minutes?

Lot of people refuse to eat this stuff because of this, and the fact that they don’t care for food that’s been frankensteined with genetic tweaks whose safety in humans has never been tested.

Enter Wal-Mart.  A company that has proven time and time again that it will use any means to get ahead, destroying many small businesses and they are often the only retailer/food store in smaller communities.  Not cool, but not illegal (yet).  And they are branching out into “grocery only” stores to gain a bigger footprint- at least here in California. Wal-mart has no trouble buying this corn.

And since they are often the only game in town, guess what people get to eat? You guessed it.  Monsanto Frankencorn.

I’m not even going to go into both of their track records of  smothering their competition through shady business practices.

I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart years ago. I have joined the crusade to bring Monsanto to it’s knees.

Join me.

MJ

See more on this general topic at Frankfish, Beetlecorn, The FDA and Monsanto


Disclaimer – I’m a scientist.  At least my degree is in Biology. These days, I work with…”computers” and lets leave it at that. But I aced genetics, ecology, plant kingdom, physiology and a few others along the way.  I used to work for a company that made medical grade brain scanners, made using used FDA compliance documentation.

So I know what I am talking about.  I’m not just  jumping on a bandwagon. Genetic engineering is cool. It can certainly save lives.  But it gets really dicey when you do it to our food supply.  And even worse when the regulatory agency that should protect us is run by someone who once worked for the industry he is “overseeing”.

Last week I saw that the FDA has approved a farm-raised salmon that has been spliced with some sort of eel.  My first thought was “Frankenfish”.  It grows to market size much faster.  And probably tastes as awful as farm raised salmon tastes.  Not relevant.  Two big dangers here.

First is the Jurassic park effect.  Once these things are self re-populating, odds are eventually some will escape or be otherwise released, and we have ZERO idea about how they will compete in a wild system.  Maybe they would die.  Maybe they would mate with their wild cohorts and we will see a bonanza of huge fish.  Bad, but could be worse.  They could interbreed and the resulting hybrid could be sterile. No more wild salmon.  Ecology of the entire oceans food chain disrupted.  Perhaps the hybrid goes super-huge and starts eating whales.  Not likely, but stranger things have happened.

Second, I don’t really trust the FDA.  I doubt I would like the research they have done on nutrition and safety.  This fish’s metabolism might concentrate some strange chemical/heavy metal/pesticide in its tissue that only manifests after years of consumption.  This leads me to the next bit.

I only tonight learned about Beetlecorn, but it doesn’t surprise me.  Apparently it is a hybrid corn spliced with the DNA of some strange-ass beetle which makes it …wait for it… produce  toxins.  You read that right.  It makes its own pesticide.  Convenient. Until this makes the pest evolve and devour a now-not-diverse food supply.  The Irish learned about agricultural diversity the hard way.  We’re already eating this stuff.

Here’s a quote on the subject  from http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/cropsystems/dc7055.html#ch3

“Although conventional Bt insecticides may perform as well as synthetic insecticides, their performance is not always consistent. Erratic performance of Bt insecticides is attributed to:

  • toxin sensitivity to UV radiation, heat and desiccation,
  • incomplete coverage of feeding sites, or
  • reduced toxicity against older larvae.

Modifying a corn plant to produce its own Bt protein overcomes these liabilities. The protein is protected from rapid environmental degradation. Plants produce the protein in tissues where larvae feed, so coverage is not an issue. Finally, the protein is present whenever newly-hatched larvae try to feed, so the timing of Bt application is not a problem. The result is an efficient and consistent built-in system to deliver Bt proteins to the target pest ”

I’m sorry, but I simply do not want to eat food that is essentially permeated with “incesticides”.  How about you?

And “Fuck Monsanto” for their numerous, numerous acts that are along these lines, and for their shady practices and destructive policies.  Just google “Monsanto protest” and follow the links.

MJ

For more on Monsanto please see “Walmart and Monsanto -Dastardly Duo