A recent conversion about GMOs came through from a piece of fiction. Since food affects everyone and we don’t produce our own food any more. The last part meaning you may have a garden or fruit trees, but the ability to raise cow, chickens, and pork isn’t allowed in every community.
GMO is abbreviation for Genetic Modified Organism. Us humans have been playing with our food for thousands of years. For instance, in 1400’s corn had kernels on the top of the plant, not ears covered with them. Today, bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn actually has genetic coding from bacteria included in its own DNA. Thus modifying its genetics. While selective breeding has created thousands of varieties over decades, the process of genetic splicing produces much faster results.
Crop production is the added benefit through either faster production, resistance to pests, and/or resistance to herbicides. The ‘traditional’ of pest control methods included things like applying sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis (bt). The bacteria is light sensitive did sunlight would break down the applications of bacteria fairly quickly. Which means lots of reapplying. And high costs to purchase more and more product. But why use it, the bacteria has a chemical toxic to pests and only dissolves in alakine digestive systems. Hey, ours are highly acidic! Therefore extremely safe for humans, birds, cows and pigs.
Don’t mistake the Bacillus thuringiensis for the bt Corn. There are differences in what they are and why. The corn plant has the bt genes in its stalk, leaves, silks, ears, and roots. So Mr Bug eats at any part and ingests the toxin. Goodbye, Mr Bug. So far, so good. The bacteria has an outer shell between the toxin and the bug. The digestive juices eats away the shell. We don’t digest the shell, so we don’t ingest the toxin.
There have been several studies to investigate the level of scariness that bt Corn should cause. Obviously, producers of bt Corn have financed a few of these and they say there are no side effects to humans. Also tip of the environmental hat, it requires less pesticides! There are many environmental groups that paid for studies that show bt Corn as franken-corn, ready to storm the world corn village destroying it all.
The truth is probably closer to the middle. The bt Corn is usually resistant to herbicides like Glyphosphate (Commercially known as Round-up). Farmers tend to cultivate (weed) their fields by spraying Glyphosphate. The herbicide is water soluble and binds to proteins (animal and plant proteins). This is where things get cloudy. If consumed Glyphosphate can be found in stomach linings, esophagus, and intestines due to its ability to bind to proteins. It doesn’t flush out of the digestive system quickly because of the acidic environment. The catch is his much is in that ear of corn. Noone really knows.
Why, each variety has different water content and kernels vary between feed (dry) and sweet corn. Corn meal can be made from either, but feed corn is mostly for animals we eat. There are few studies that compare corn with number of applications of Glyphosphate and concentration of Glyphosphate in the harvested bt Corn. There are fewer that analyse the concentration of Glyphosphate within beef, poultry and pork that ate bt Corn. But the reason here is fed corn isn’t labeled GMO sourced, how does a research know without analysing all the feed. These animals eat well… like pigs. You couldn’t do anything but spot check. Mist peole aren’t crazy because of variance your numbers would be questionable. It still could be done with multiple studies, each either verifying or disproving the original study. Again few studies are done and released but most are subsidized by manufacturer of Glyphosphate.
In 2016, 90-95% of corn sold in US was classified as bt Corn. I sourced the websites and all had different numbers these represent the range of all three. Some websites state it is not appropriate to share their data (so they all anonymous). I have read a dozen articles and they are divergent at best in their findings. Personally, i make the decision to rely on chemistry and moderation with a heavy infusion of Farmers markets.
If it is toxic to a bacteria or plant, than in sufficient quantities it becomes toxic to my cells. If it is binding to my cells, than it can alter my cells in sufficient quantities. What the hell is that about? Cancer is irregular cell division and toxins tend to interfere with cell division. Not everyone will die of cancer because of Glyphosphate. But several courts have awarded damages from its use. Reducing exposure to Glyphosphate is healthier for you. If you don’t know your food source then consider organic. Organic is NO guarantee to be free if GMOs, it means less chemicals exposed to the plants that produce your food.
*I’m a former Chemistry major, with 20 years of gardening experience, and relatives who still make an honest living
playing in the dirt, doing God’s work, farming
Saguaro Lake is located 20 miles Northeast of Mesa, AZ. It’s has a marina and several boat ramps. And three roads into the area. There are marked trails for hiking, atv’s and horses. This is part of Tonto Forest area and daily passes are sold off site year round in places like Ft McDowell, Mesa, and Jake’s Corners
And being there at the beginning of March, there are wildflowers. The area is loaded with cacti and cholla.
The end of my best guesses at what iis growing as a tree or shrub. There have been 53 so far. I keep forgetting some shrubs are tender vegetation and get carried inside. Which means pot bound. Some take forever to bloom or show fruit.
Rose of Sharon, a glorious weed by any other name surely would not smell as sweet. Ok, that maybe a bit harsh. I hated these things when I had a small yard. You have a thousand seedlings every year it seems. They with take over easily. But they can be kept as a hedge. They will bloom continuously from July til frost. Every year I cut them back to about two feet tall and they come back really thick. Left alone they could reach about 6-7 feet tall. They are a favorite of Japanese Beetles, and may require spaying.
Hibiscus are a tropical breed. Hardy ones do exist and require luck this far North. We have ones that go in for the winter. These are braided as “trees”. They need feed well to stay pretty. If you let them go dry, It takes awhile to talk them back to blooming. Once they start they will bloom most of the summer.
The Bay Tree is a Mediterranean staple. Here it’s a basement plant and acts like it will melt in the Sunshine for the first month its back outside. This is about four weeks later. The leaves are usable for seasoning. Even can be dried and sprinkled around the counter/floor to repeal ants. This can get seven feet tall and if you leave side branches it’ll look a lot better. It’ll look much better in another month!
Another Florida native, Lantana is at home in sand and loose soils. But with enough water, it’ll grow in hard soil. In nature they are 3-4 feet tall, in a pot or the ground 2-3 feet is big. This is another spend winter inside plant. The blooms have multiple colors on most. Combinations can be red, orange, & yellow, or pink, purple, & cream. Even solid white or yellow are common. It’s a nice compact shrub. If you take care of it, all summer it blooms.
The Sargeant Crabapple is another Arbor Day tree. It had a decent growth rate. There are male and female trees. The females bear fruit. Not edible type for people though. The tall one is almost ten feet tall, the shorter one six feet. The foliage is dense enough for a nest or two. They prefer soil with drainage but can stand wet soil for part of the year. Just make sure it’s in the Sun.
The Black Locust is the main stay of the front yard. It’s a tree that looks more dead than alive most of the year. These are signs of poor soil. They grew in places with standing water, hard compacted clay and will grow with little light. They tend to cluster, partially become they were others won’t. They do actually look good in May because they bloom for a few days or until it rains. The blooms are very fragile.
The Peony is very common shrub. It had really nice blooms that look good for than a week. The plant then proceeds to fall face first to the ground. This one is tied up. It has topped out at less than 3 feet tall.
This Bush Fushia is a tender plant. It’s more plant than shrub. It will get as large as six feet if I lived in Hawaii. Here in Ohio, it lives in the basement for half the year. The flowers are magnets for hummingbirds. They bloom all year. Like the hanging plant relative,this needs lot of water and fertilizer to stay happy.
The Rug Juniper is a spreading evergreen. It will never be more than six inches tall but can stretch out 3-5 feet in two directions. Usually they are long and about a foot wide. They make great accents to demarcate a bed from the yard. This one has a future job doing that!
The Florida Weigela is the most common Weigela. It had red flowers that may have stopped for an unknown reason. It’s battling day lilies for space in a bed. Although, it should be 5-6 feet tall and wide, this one is a bit small. At 2 feet tall, it’s been buried alive for the first couple months is good weather.
Newly planted Japanese maple.
A color that frazzled the eyes. ..
First flowers of spring (one of a living fossil, colts foot)
Ren and Stimpy accent color (sing “Log” with me now)
Yep, he’s been drinking. ….again