"The Informed Gardener" by Linda Chalker-Scott & a few less grouchy books

Discussion in 'Growing Organic Marijuana' started by ForbinsAscent, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. #1 ForbinsAscent, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    I stopped by the library after volunteering to pick up a few reads- my eyes have been feeling weird from staring at the screen. I'll list the 5 others, but first: The Informed Gardener - Blooms Again by Linda Chalker-Scott. Published in 2010 by UW press, Seattle, this book is highly praised online and on the back cover.

    Now let me throw this at'chyall. I am not going to write a full critique but the table of contents lists every chapter, that is 5 or so pages long, and all titled "the myth of_____" the chapters are divided into sections as such: The Myth, The REality, The Bottom Line, and REferences.

    But Let me just list some stuff she writes and see what you think

    "The specter of persistent pesticides in our soil and water has led us out of the "spray and pray" mentality. The organic approach has spawned products and practices that are often environmentally sustainable, economically feasible, and socially acceptable. Are our "New" best management practices to be found in the past? The Reality: As in most paradigm shifts, there's a danger in discarding current practices and replacing them with not only the good but also the bad and the ridiculous. A successful, holistic approach to land-scape management requires solid underpinnings of whole-plant physiology-- a field that barely existed 100 years ago and continues to evolve. If we don't understand how a plant responds to environmental changes-- which includes management practices-- then we can't predict what will happen to that plant or the landscape in the future.

    It is in this context that we need to critically assess old horticultural "wisdom". Two of the questions we should ask are "does the rationale behind the practice make sense given our current scientific understanding?" and "does the practice actually have a significant effect?"

    Then the author proceeds to the second and third chapters by tearing apart "companion planting" and "biodynamics." chapter 5 the myth of foliar feeding. is a carefully diluted criticism such as: "Any benefit from foliar spraying of landscape trees and shrubs is minor considering the cost and labor involved."

    And then towards the end, "the myth of bubbly compost tea" - bottom line: ACT is not effective in treating plant disease in gardens or landscapes, and, since it is not registered as a pesticide, cannot be legally recommended or applied as one. ACTs have been demonstrated to harbor human pathogens, including E. coli. There is a rapidly growing compost tea industry that continues to downplay not only the lack of scientific evidence but also the documented health concerns behind its product. Garden and landscape products and practices should be based on objective plant and soil science, not on blind faith or commercial gain, as seems to be the case with ACTs."

    Now while I agree- She's writing this very carefully- and notice through this criticism she doesn't downright say "ACT's do not stimulate microbe growth in sterile or depleted soils" which is what ACt's purpose is. Onward though

    "the myth of curative kelp" bottom line "seaweed extacts contain plant growth regulators, which, like traditional rooting products, can stimulate root growth in cuttings and transplants. (my note: wonder if by traditional she means commercial eh?) seaweed extracts have no reliable effect on plant production or resistance to disease and environmental stress, especially under field conditions. Variations in plant materials and environmental conditions are greater determinants of plant health than applications of seaweed extract. Kelp forests are the mainstay of coastal ecosystems whose stability is jeopordized when they are harvested. Because seaweed extracts represent luxury use of a natural resource and have little practical value, their use in gardens and landscapes is not recommended.

    Then finally the myth of milk and roses. "there is no evidence that milk sprays are effective in controlling black spot on roses or any other ornamental plant species..(some bad things about spraying milk...)... Leaves coated with a milk spray might be less vulnerable to aphid attack, thereby reducing the transmission of aphid borne viruses. Milk sprays may be viable alternatives to conventional pesticides, especially for organic pharmers.

    I think we should invite her into some of the discussion around here no? :devious:
  2. #2 WeeDroid, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
    What are her qualifications?

    Found a few citations on her online.

    So she is talking down PhDs (in regards to seaweed anyway) eh?
  3. hahah. The book has a lot of good information actually I only included parts from the start and end. She seems stiff enough to me to have the credentials. but you'd have to see for yourself. hey it was provocative enough for me to pick off the shelf. it's the new edition after The informed Gardener- -- -- Blooms Again
  4. #4 LumperDawgz2, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011

    The battle between Ms. Chalker-Scott and Dr. Ingham goes back a few years and neither exactly come to this or many other discussions with clean hands so I won't add to the huge amount of blog posts, forum posts, etc. around the web. It does have certain comedic value if your bored senseless.

    But I couldn't let this clap-trap pass without comment:
    1. Seaweed extract is not kelp meal. Not even close in terms of plant compounds. On elements they are similar in the same way that a Vitamin C tablet has some similar elements as an orange.

    I'll take the work of people like Dr. Senn with over 55 years studying kelp meal AND seaweed extract in both agriculture and horticulture research.

    Or Dr. Michael Guiry from Ireland. And others.

    2. Her knowledge on how and where North Atlantic kelp is harvested leads me to conclude that when her 7-year sabbatical comes up perhaps a visit to Norway would be in order. Coastal indeed - LMAO

    Both are real hoots and definitely entertaining!

  5. yeah didnt' you hear? Coastal resources are being depleted... guhghhh

    I'll have to look into this some more to find out why she's so pessimistic about organics- her language just indicates it at every turn and that first paragraph I quoted her on, just sounds like a load of crap and makes me wonder who's lining her pockets to talk about organics that way and practically endorse current practices -- in my view is just an illusion of safety.
  6. I'll add a bit of regional bovine excrement to the discussion.........

    The agriculture school at 'U-Dub Puyallup' has cast their eyes and have pinned their hopes on the work done at real agriculture schools like Oregon State University and UC Davis.

    This school is filled with cute little tykes parading as a research staff which could serve at many community colleges around the country. Not all mind you but 'a lot' perhaps.

    Once again it's important to note that when discussing the state of Washington in general, if you were to remove Microsoft and Boeing from the equation/analysis - basically Washington is Arkansas with an ocean view. Seriously.

  7. hmmmmm, sensing that ol Oregon vs Washington state vibe. ;)
  8. except arkansas capitol wasn't founded as a logging town. But now that washington is ''clear - cut central" with the exception of a few national forests, we have the desolation just like the south. And the we have the Hicks. Also apparently the university professors who think that current national agriculture practices are safe and reliable. It's Ok i only picked 1/6 off the shelf - based on skimming I actually found disagreeable.

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