Thursday, May 2, 2013

May madness

Did any of you read in the recent copy of The Garden, that the use of barley straw to control algae and blanket weed in ponds is to be banned under EU regulations? It will not be classed as a biocide, so legally cannot be used. (Maybe Monty Don hadn't read his copy as he featured this procedure in his program last Friday - woops! Stay with it Monty.) I guess this won't make much difference to private pond owners, although it may become difficult to buy barley straw in small quantities, as it couldn't be legally marketed for that! Maybe there'll be a spate of barley straw rustling at harvest time! What a nonsense - instead one will have to use a chemical biocide with potentially far more damaging environmental results. The other effective non-chemical possibility is the use of deep blue vegetable dyes. By cutting out the light penetrating the water, the growth of algae is reduced. Does make the water look a bit Disneyland though! How long before the EU ban this!

Reminds me of some of the other EU nonsense. There was a time when we always used to add a teaspoon of sugar to glyphosate (Tumbleweed or Roundup) which made it more effective, especially on  mare's tail - guess it probably just acted as a sticking agent. Not allowed - sugar isn't a pesticide and nor is washing up liquid, so when you use a splash of Fairy liquid on a few greenfly, you are potentially a criminal! And of course we've all heard the stories about curvature in bananas and cucumbers, which are actually based on some fact. Maybe the Victorians were ahead of their times when they invented the cucumber straightener!

Most annoying of all is probably the restrictions placed on the sales of heritage vegetable cultivars. If a vegetable is not on the list of approved commercial varieties, it is illegal to sell the seed. How ridiculous and damaging in terms of plant conservation. Fortunately organizations such as the Heritage Seed Library have taken the challenge and by means of  membership, participants can legally receive free heritage seed. And as for what the EU did to the British fruit industry - don't start me!

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