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Re: leaning community garden soil

  • Subject: Re: [cg] leaning community garden soil
  • From: "Deborah Mills" deborah@greencure.org
  • Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2002 20:13:47 -0700

Evan,

I don't have all the answers to help you "clean-up" your soil but there is
one  arthropod that has been used successfully in Europe to eradicate DDT
from the soil is our dear friend, the Springtail. I had a hands on
experience with them when we had our wet and wild El Nino winter. We had so
much rain coupled with the organic mulch we had on site, our populations
increased to the point they where traveling over a 6 foot block wall and
invading the neighbors homes. As a result, I had to learn everything I could
about these creatures because the neighbors were ready to stone us. I know
for a fact that we had hundreds going over the wall because I placed duct
tape with Tanglefoot on the pieces and did daily counts. They ended up being
in the hundreds each day on each piece of tape. Scary for us, but maybe
helpful to you.

 Maybe you can find out more about using Springtails as a means to refurbish
your soil. Of course it would take some time.

Enjoy the following article,
Deborah Mills
www.greencure.org

The cool wet winter we are having creates the ideal environment for all
growth. Since we are having excessive amounts of rain, vegetation is in
abundance and effects the whole food chain, so to speak. An increase in weed
and plant growth causes a rise in insect populations. The outcome? More
reptiles, rodents, birds, and so on. Our gardens will not only be bursting
with blooms they will be also bursting with bugs. Whether this is a benefit
or nuisance depends on your point of view.

One insect in particular, the tiny, wingless, primitive arthropod commonly
referred to as the "Springtail" (which belongs to the order Collembola), can
be considered a "good bug" by some people and a "bad bug" by others.
Springtails are one of the most important elements in any soil ecosystem
because they are good recyclers by reducing decayed vegetation to soil. They
inhabit the surface layer of soil and abound in areas rich in plant litter,
where they feed on a variety of things, including lichens, fungus spores, po
llen, and plant debris. Some species also feed on nematodes and may partake
in the natural control of these tiny worms.

For the homeowners they can be alarming when seen outdoors in massive
numbers, appearing as "piles of soot" in backyards, driveways, puddles of
water, etc. Springtails are considered pests in the sense when they enter
homes in abundance. They come in the home where dampness and humidity occur,
such as bathrooms, drains, leaking pipes and sinks. They can also be found
in the soil of over-watered houseplants. Springtails can become a nuisance
but these tiny, leaping insects do not bit humans, spread disease or damage
household furnishings.

Springtails are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch in size and vary in an assortment of
colors from white, gray, yellow, orange, metallic green, lavender to red
with some being patterned or mottled. They get their name from the fact that
they have an appendage (furcula) attached to the underside of the abdomen
where they catapult themselves up to 100 times their body length. Lucky for
them they have limited vision because they have absolutely no control over
which way they go or where they land.

There are over 700 species of springtails in North America alone and more
than 6,000 worldwide. These ancient insects were found in fossil specimens
dating back to the middle Devonian period about 380 million years ago.

If you have a high population of springtails in or around your home keep in
mind that they are commonly found where there are sources of moisture. Any
means to provide a drying effect is very effective. Inside the home you can
use a fan to keep the air moving or a dehumidifier may provide the necessary
drying effect. Check and repair plumbing for leaks and dripping pipes.

Outside the home keep ground-level entrances free of rotting leaves and
debris. Damp organic material near the foundation walls of your home may
need to be pulled back or removed. Prune shrubbery and ground cover around
the foundation of your home to permit proper air circulation. By removing
the moist habitat springtails require will eliminate the attractiveness of
your home and normally they will dissipate within a day or two. Presently at
this time there is no effective chemical treatment because some springtails
are extremely resistant to insecticides. Even one specie, Folsoma candida is
utilized in Europe to break down DDT in the soil. On occasion, springtail
invasions may persist due to factors not in our control and for reasons
unknown to science.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ms Save the Ron Mandella community Garden" <savethegarden@yahoo.com>
To: <community_garden@mallorn.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2002 2:12 PM
Subject: [cg] leaning community garden soil


> Hi
> I am from a community garden in Sacramento. Our garden
> is 30 years old and soil tresting just revealed that
> there is lead, arsenic, DDT and PAH in the soil. The
> state wants to destroy our garden to clean up the land
> and then build condos on it. Does anyone know of ways
> to clean thsose chemicals out of the soil (such as
> using plants, diluting with multch, or using
> microbes)that would not involve digging up the whole
> garden and removing the dirt. If anyone could give me
> specific information on this or ideas about to find
> information I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks
> Evan
>
> __________________________________________________
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>
> ______________________________________________________
> The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of
ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to
find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
>
>
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>
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https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden
>


______________________________________________________
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