I read a very interesting article on a blog yesterday. Tomato plants in a garden were having extreme leaf-curl and not doing well. The gardener could not figure out what was wrong. She thought it looked like an herbicide problem but she kept an organic garden. She checked with her neighbors to see if they were using herbicides but they weren’t. It was a very puzzling situation. The tomatoes in another section of her garden were doing fine. Here is a picture of oregano damaged by an herbicide.
Then she realized that she used horse manure in the garden where the tomatoes were doing so poorly. It was a new garden area and she was building up the quality of the soil with manure. After some investigation she found that the horses ate hay that had been sprayed with a very strong herbicide, aminopyralid, and the herbicide did not break down in the horse’s digestive system. Therefore the herbicide was still active in her garden where she used the horse manure and was killing her tomato plants. This is happening more often: straw and manure Contaminated by herbicide!
Straw and Manure Contaminated by Herbicide: It Is Possible!
The implications of this story are mind boggling! Even if you have an organic garden it could become contaminated by the use of animal manures or with the use of hay or straw mulches. As careful as we can be as organic gardeners our efforts can be foiled by something that we didn’t expect. Whenever we use manure we usually don’t know what the animals have eaten. I never thought that I might have to find organic straw to use as mulch. Or that I would have to worry about what herbicides or chemicals might be present in manure. Here is the whole story at Buying Manure and Organic Soil Management. Please share any experiences you might have had with issues like this.