Seeds of Change
Jun 10, 2009 | 1364 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print

This has been a rainy and cold introduction to summer. I am in awe of the deep green growth in my lawn and garden and the trees are so healthy-looking and full. Watering bills are lowered and caring for my weed-free sodded lawn has paid-off.

You see, I am disabled by chemicals and springtime for me is like a high-powered game of dodgeball. In the last month, I got sick from the herbicide spraying at QWEST -- I was exposed to its volatile outgassing at the Post Office and at Kate's Restaurant. The yard at QWEST was sprayed with a combination of herbicides – Krovar and 2, 4D Ester. Both of these herbicides are listed as carcinogens on the company's MSDS sheet. My survival requires that I become somewhat of an expert on chemicals and their unique forms of impacting people, animals and surrounding environments. These chemicals are impacting Ridgway. They can persist in the soil up to three years, move in the groundwater, impact birds, increase the risk of lymphoma in dogs and cause cancer in humans. This particular form of 2, 4-D travels off-site in the air and is breathed in by unsuspecting Ridgway citizens going about their business at the Post Office, health food store etc.

The Round-Up sprayed at the firehouse cut me off from traveling on the bordering road. Round-Up has a minimum drift of 66 feet from a ground application. Spraying it in proximity to our populated, toxin-free park is counter-productive to the health and well-being of the park lawns and plantings, not to mention the increasing numbers of pets, children and adults using the park in the warm months. Round-Up has a poisoning effect on humans and shows its presence in any of the following ways: eye irritation, coughing and lung congestion, skin irritation, cardiac problems and genetic damage in pregnant women. Dogs can die from exposure to Round-Up.

OK, OK, I guess you now know it is not good for any of us – including this beautiful valley we call home. I really wish to clear up some common misconceptions. When you spray herbicides and pesticides on your property, you are most often exposing your innocent neighbors to poisonous chemicals. Without drift laws to protect the neighbors, this becomes an ETHICAL DECISION on the part of the sprayer. I am perfectly clear that it is not a question of legal right to spray, it is a question of conscious understanding of the impact on all concerned. The decision to spray toxic herbicides, once educated on the impact, becomes ethical and moral.

I am your canary, I react immediately to these herbicide poisons. My body does not have to grow a cancer to know that herbicide sprays are injurious.

So, what's the answer? I love my dandelion-free lawn and my weed-free driveway. Safe products without all these poisonous side-effects are available. I use them, Danny Powers in our town park uses them and Orvis Hot Springs has gone GREEN. GREEN GUARDIAN is available by calling 1-877-646-2900. I have contacted Park Nursery and Camelot (Montrose) to carry Green Guardian's "Everything Must Go" and "Weed and Feed." Trust me – they work better and faster.

I appeal to both private citizens and private businesses located in the town of Ridgway, you can help make Ridgway a GREENER and healthier town by committing to non-toxic weed and lawn care. In conjunction with the present national emphasis on transparency and greener decisions, we too, as a committed community, can accomplish a more transparent and more environmentally ethical approach to weed and lawn care.

I continue to express my gratitude to Danny Powers for teaching us all about safe lawn and weed care and for creating safe, non-toxic parks. Get well soon, Danny. We miss you.

Jean McDonnell Ridgway Community Garden Update


We’re nearly past frost date and looking forward to putting in the garden. We have four work groups ready to go at this time, which is twice as many as this time last year! Robyn Cascade has one organized, Tami Hodges and Jessica have the children’s group, Voyager Program is training this week and the Colorado State University Master Gardener Program is a welcome new addition. It’s never too late to grab your friends and neighbors and start another one.

Our heirloom, organic seed collection is here, so we’re all set to go there. We will run out of existing beds soon, so the first priority is creation of new ones. Unfortunately, the Community Garden Toolshare rototiller is inoperable at the moment. One way we could serve our community would be to organize a posse to facilitate its repair. It is at Tomten Farm, probably still on its trailer. This machine is a monster, and so would require very strong people to move it and use it. Darren Cloud of Buckhorn Mountain Farm helped us out last year. It would be great if some of you really strong people out there who wish to help could take this on.

I contacted Home Depot hoping for donation of drip irrigation materials. They have desisted in making donations, citing that recipients of donated materials were reselling them. They would give us a $5 coupon though (!) Think about that the next time you spend a few hundred bucks over there! I’m working on GJ Pipe and Lowe’s. Any ideas, cash donations or materials (tax-deductible) are welcome.

We are also in need of olefin fiber fabric, aka weed barrier, to create the paths, and a fence repair crew.

By the end of this week we should have a pretty good idea of the scheduling, which is important once the rain stops, the cold weather clears and watering will become necessary.

Thanks to everyone who have self-initiated gardening so far this year!

Judith Bartlett, 970/626-4242
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