Hello! I am a beginner grower and I have some really newbie questions.
I have been growing with organic soil and organic seed solely indoors, but now I have to move. Growing only indoors is no longer an option really since I want to grow so much more than just at my windows. Anyway the problem is that my neighbor uses roundup and a bunch of chemicals to have a perfectly green lawn of nothing but grass for a acre. I'm building a greenhouse out of pallets, to prevent any chemicals from getting in my soil from the constant chemicals. I would also like to start a hive of bees too, and I was wondering if there are any precautions for organic growing next to roundup that I should be using. Will the bee's be okay? Will my plants?
Also the soil in the location I am building the greenhouse has had roundup too, but I have been using separate store bought organic soil and am trying to grow vertically so I can grow more.
There are things you can do to mitigate the problem. Fungal activity is the key to breaking down glyphosate quickly, so make sure to have lots and lots of woodmulch in your gardens to build up a good fungal culture where they might get exposed to spray or contaminated runoff. Secondly, plant hedges between you an your neighbor so that any stray spray will be impeded before it can get on to your property.
As far as the bees go, you probably are fine. If he is spraying his lawn, there probably will not be many flowers like dandelions or clover in there and the bees will have little reason to visit his property. Honeybees have a range of up to 3 miles, so they will have plenty of better options of where to forage.
The last thing I'd do is talk to your neighbor. Let him know that you don't want to force him to do anything he doesn't want to, but that you'd appreciate it if he could be careful when spraying around your property because you have concerns with the safety of glyphosate and it having negative effects on your garden.
I'll second Tom's point that fungal activity will break down the glyphosate even faster than it already does. But I'm not so sure that the bees will be 'fine'. Since they range wide and far, it's more than just your immediate neighbor that you have to worry about. If the whole neighborhood is into better gardening through chemistry, it's only a matter of time before the bees run into a batch of neo-nicotinoids someplace.
Educating the whole neighborhood about the benefits of an organic, permaculture way of doing things is a big task. I don't try to do it. The neighbors see what I am doing, and I share my successes with them, but they would still rather get their advice from Mr. Monsanto's sales rep. Big Ag has a lot of success to point to; the volumes of food they can move through the super Wal-Mart. But if Big Ag ever stumbles, people will drop them like a hot potato for someone who can grow better, tastier, and more healthy food.
property rights can be a little touchy, the best bet is to do what you are doing with barriers and to very politely ask the neighbor to be careful with his spraying and to please not spray on a day with any wind blowing towards your property. Good luck with that! I'm glad we don't have to deal with anything like that right now, we do have a thousand acres or so of monsanto corn growing not far from us, but luckily they don't spray and we have just kinda given up on growing corn since we don't want any issues with ours...
Ajila Ama Farm Western North Carolina
Put on your bee keeping suit, minus the face gear. Go to your neighbor's house and introduce yourself. Have a friendly chat. Casually mention your bee hives. Tell she/he that poisonous sprays like round up make bees swarm angrily and uncontrollably . Wish your neighbor a good day. Put the face gear on and head back home.
Do approach your neighbor, assuming they aren't raving lunatics. Down here the local pasture operators and the landed gentry put Glypho and 2-4,D on everything but their oatmeal. I went through a short period where the downwind conditions were right and we sustained some leaf damage from excessive drift. A little over-the-fence diplomacy went a long way, especially after I pointed out how much of his money was blowin' in the wind. Gently ask how they're applying it and when, this has more to do with the amount of drift they'll get and the effectiveness of the amount they're using. Monsanto goes to great length (bless their selfless little hearts...) on their literature and website to promote large droplet size and low dilution/application rates, even going so far as to sell a special nozzle for sprayers to get the drift as low as possible. See if they're waiting for low wind, moderate humidity and especially no dew on the plant leaf. Low dilution and large droplet size really increase the effectiveness of the amount applied and reduce drift to a minimum. You will probably never get them to stop using the gick, but you can reduce the amount that blows your way. Good luck.
Men argue, nature acts - Voltaire
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