Posts Tagged 'microbial inoculants'

Ants, Roses and Religious Freedom

I’m usually glad when I answer the business line on the weekend even though we’re officially closed. Customers often present questions that I’m happy to help unravel. Sometimes new inquiries make my day, like last Sunday. A young woman’s voice asked, “Are you open? I need aphid controls.” It soon became clear to me that she really needed ant controls. It became clear to her that she really wanted to come over and learn about it eye to eye. A bright curiosity in her voice drew the OK out of me.

She was actually calling for her boyfriend and his 16 young citrus trees and roses. They were at the local nursery weighing a decision to buy the spined soldier bug eggs (the ones that utlimately come in the mail) to control argentine ants that they were sure occupied their greater neighborhood. They got a tip to give us a call first.

What a delight! They absorbed new insights about insect ecology so fast! It was charming how he admitted being a perfectionist about his trees. He decided on both an AntPro and AntsNoMore bait stations, Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait AND the granular bait laced with insect growth regulator. My description of the triple jeopardy for ant mounds turned over with a shovel was all he needed to feel armed for battle. He had the confidence to conquer the millions of ants in his little orchard. Still, he said he was worried and made another joke about being a perfectionist. I pointed to the blurbs about Rhizoboost and Microbe Nutrients in our Catalog. Spraying the bacteria on the rose bushes can interfere with the rust he was worried about as well as stimulate the food web in the root zone. But for now, we decided to concentrate on the ant campaign.

As I finished getting payment information, I learned that they are Persian-American Moslems. She was fasting. I said, “That’s why your face is radiant.” They were curious about the photo of ‘Abdu’l-Baha on a high shelf above my desk. His clothing is turn of the last century Persian. Four eyes fixed on ‘Abdu’l-Baha. I said, “He is the son of the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith.” They looked left and right, “There are Baha’is around here!!?” “I’m a Baha’i,” I said. Eyes wide, was I also fasting for Ramadan? I said that God is merciful, for Baha’is the fast is only 19 days. It ends at Naw Ruz. We agreed on how we love the fast, the feeling of lightness, the quality of prayer at the end of a day, more clear than prayer during the rest of the year.

I turned my monitor towards them, “Iran just sentenced seven Baha’i leaders to 20 years solely because they are Baha’is.” She said, “My mother told me about that! It’s terrible.” I just got this announcement. Amnesty International provides a mailing address where we can plea to the Iranian government. The youth said that unfortunately nothing like that would do any good. “You can’t change them. They are just crazy.” She said it with such assurance and finality I was riveted.

Through diligent and persistent attention they will nurture their trees and roses to optimum health. What explains being so full of optimism about trees and roses achieving perfection and so cynical about one’s people respecting religious freedom? I want to urge them to also take a stand for justice in Iran. Tweet freedom songs for the Baha’is during Ramadan.

-Jan Dietrick, Manager

Rhizoboost and Defensor No Longer OMRI Listed

You may have noticed recently that some previously listed products are no longer on the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Products List. This past year, OMRI has been re-reviewing all products on their list for NOP compliance. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has recently revised its requirements for products to be approved for use in organic. The new requirements no longer allow the use of some inert ingredients (see full list below). Consequently, OMRI has withdrawn certification of a lot of products. Listing status is renewed annually, and another reason a product may fail to stay on the list is that some companies decide not to pay the listing fee. For companies with a small volume of sales, it can be a lot of money.

Two Rincon-Vitova products no longer listed as of September 2008 are BioStart Rhizoboost and Defensor. Bio-Cat, the manufacturer, is currently working on finding a preservative that will meet the new NOP standards. They haven’t given us a specific time frame, but testing a new formulation will take a few months and getting the products recertified by OMRI will take a few more months after that. We’ll keep you updated on their progress. We will continue to carry these products, but be aware that they are no longer approved for use in USDA certified organic production. If you need an OMRI listed microbial inoculant, we also carry Natural Resources Group’s Activate line of products. Hopefully a new formulation will be approved for organic soon because we have seen the benefits of these products extend beyond improving and maintaining soil biodiversity and promoting balance in the soil foodweb. Rhizoboost is especially helpful for farms in the first year of transition off of fumigated and chemically treated soils before moving the land towards organic certification.

Cucumber plants with and without Rhizoboost.

Cucumber plants grown with and without Rhizoboost.

Squash plants grown with and without Rhizoboost

Squash plants grown with and without Rhizoboost.

Inert ingredients no longer allowed by NOP standards:

acetylated lanolin alcohol
acrylic acid methyl ester, polymer with acrylonitrile and 1,3-butadiene
coumarone-indene resin
manganous oxide
pentaerythritol monostearate
pentaerythritol tetrastearate
polyglyceryl phthalate ester of coconut oil fatty acid
sodium fluoride



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