Blackberry Massacre

There was concern that some blackberries were getting out of control along the banks between the trail and the bay. It appeared that our landscape company was just weed-whacking them about once a year and they continued to thrive. So our Conservation Committee organized an impromptu blackberry-digging work party on Tuesday evening April 21. Judy, Jane, VeeAnn, Cheri, Sandy, and Kim all showed up with garden tools and gloves and dug out many blackberries by their roots! It was invigorating! Great job ladies!!!

The second Blackberry Massacre Party gathered along the banks of the bay on Tuesday May 5, 2015 at 6pm.

“With eight of us there yesterday and four or so there the last time, and under-estimating that each person spent an hour on the work each time, we put in at least 12 people-hours, saving the association at least $660 (using Cedar’s $55/hour rate). Good job, everyone.” ~Scott Huff

Home Owners at work

Agricultural Chemicals

What sort of agricultural chemicals are being used on the land that surrounds our homes here at Riverhouse?

roundupAn article that appeared in this week’s New York Times discusses some of the results of studies done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a respected arm of the World Health Organization. They classified glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) along with two insecticides (malathion and diazinon) as “probable” carcinogens leading to cancer in humans.

Read more of the New York Times article by Mark Bittman
Stop Making Us Guinea Pigs

MARCH 25, 2015

It would be good to have the list of chemicals used on our grounds – for weed control, insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Judy’s research findings
“Generally, the chemicals used on the Riverhouse landscapes (Lesco 3-Way, Bandit, Snapshot, Rodeo, and Roundup) are decent choices if you are using the traditional approach to managing landscapes. The glyphosate in Roundup actually is pretty safe, even to the river. Once it comes into contact with a plant, it’s quickly absorbed and if it contacts the ground it readily breaks down into harmless compounds. With our sandy soil, there is little risk of runoff into the river. When treating weeds close to the river, glyphosate is still safe to use but only under the Rodeo label. Bandit is an insecticide that’s often used to treat Crane Fly in lawns. (With Crane Fly it is best to observe and only treat if necessary.) Lescoe 3-Way is a broadleaf weed herbicide. (There is a similar product with all natural ingredients that has proven to have good results?) Snapshot is a pre-emergent granular herbicide.”

Thank you, Judy, for researching these.

Antidepressant Microbes in Soil

How Dirt Makes Me Happy

Dirt Makes You Happy“Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential.” says Bonnie L. Grant in her online column Gardening Know How

Of course, we gardeners have intrinsically known this fact by the way we are drawn to the earth to heal and to flourish. How our problems seem to resolve as we tenderly untangle the roots of competing plants in the soil of our gardens. Yes, I know that my garden makes me feel good. But I always find it validating to have science come along and confirm what I already know! Dirt makes me happy. It keeps me grounded.

Studies now suggest that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, that mirrors the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. Mycrobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis.

Learn more >>