University of London Study proves pesticide exposure linked to bumblebee colony failures

A very interesting study confirming the obvious:

Bee image via AFP.Chronic exposure to pesticides has a bigger knock-on effect on bees than conventional probes suggest, according to a new study on Sunday touching on the mysterious collapse of bee colonies.
Biologists at the University of London carried out an exceptional field study into bumblebees exposed to two commonly used agricultural insecticides. ….
… In the colonies exposed to imidacloprid, fewer adult workers emerged from larvae and a higher proportion of foragers failed to return to the nest, the investigators found.
In those exposed to gamma-cyhalothrin, there was a higher death rate among worker bees.
And colonies that were exposed to both kinds of pesticides were likelier to fail.
The experiment was exceptionally long and detailed, the scientists say.

Pesticides are bad for bees.  What else would one expect?

The SPAMMERS at Permaculture Design Training / Regenerative Leadership Institute threaten me with lawsuit

So many Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) are nothing but money making ventures for opportunists.   Because of this, I didn't care for permaculture until I discovered Geoff Lawton at http://www.permaculturenews.org/.
Geoff's video GREENING THE DESERT instantly turned me into a permie. I know good people when I see their work.
I also know SPAMMERS when I see their SPAM.
On 11/26/12 philipjhonson553 spammed my Yahoo group with an ad for Permaculture Design Training. I posted to the group several questions about this OVERPRICED course containing FALSE advertising.
Instead of answers, I got another SPAM from Permaculture Design Training for a free ebook.
I tried to get the book at their site, they got my email address and I got nothing. Their SPAMS and my followup post with questions about their false advertising are posted in their entirety below.
The SPAMMER's profile http://profile.yahoo.com/y/pulse/philipjhonson553 did not exist when I checked today — typical for SPAMMERS.
Today I received this email from Vladislav Davidzon :

Christine,
Please understand that we will definitely respond to such posting with a lawsuit given the nature of the libelous claims you're making.
Please consider this e-mail a formal demand for $10,000 in damages for the previous claims made. We are prepared to settle this matter in full if you agree not to make any further statements against our corporation and retract all claims made previously. Continue reading “The SPAMMERS at Permaculture Design Training / Regenerative Leadership Institute threaten me with lawsuit”

Desperate attempt to kill the gophers with truck exhaust

Last summer the gophers again invaded our lower garden. Jose set the traps several times, but we just did not catch ANY gopher. They cleverly buried the trap every time. We finally gave up and were VERY lucky they didn't go up to the upper garden as last year and we got the most delicious melons there.
But we also have TREES in the lower garden and more and more mounds appeared. Since we had to run the truck for 20 minutes to do our annual liquid glass leak fix prior to adding antifreeze, we decided to finally try the exhaust kill technique.
I was reading about that last year and I also read that this is ILLEGAL in California. At the last gardening club meeting we discussed various methods to kill gophers, including putting some gum in the holes. I gave that some thought, but it seems like a very cruel way to kill an animal. Many people kill themselves with vehicle exhaust, so it can't be too painful and I decided to try this first:
12-11-12--gopher-exhaust-kill
It so happened that we had an old shop vac and the hose fit perfectly inside out truck exhaust pipe. I made sure I taped it up good with duct tape.
It was VERY convenient that the gophers had decided to dig right outside the lower garden by the driveway. Jose found an open hole about 20 ft away and he could smell the exhaust until he filled the hole, so we are hopeful that they died a peaceful death.
If not, we'll have to resort to gum.
Here's one of the pluots we planted last year:
12-11-12--dead-pluot
It looked pretty dead for several months and yesterday it pulled right out of the ground.  Looks like the gophers got it.

Delicious nasturtium salad in winter

Last week we finally cleaned up our rather neglected raised beds and to my surprise the nasturtium is still thriving!

It got down to 21F in our hoophouse several weeks ago, so I expected the nasturtium to be frozen too.  It struggled all summer and apparently didn't like the heat in this bed on the south side of the garage. It sure made a comeback and is even flowering.
I love the slightly peppery taste in salads.  Amazingly, the bugs left the nasturtium alone while the perpetual spinach and chard took a serious beating.
We learned this year that we really need to maintain the plants and if we don't eat what we grow, we still need to cut off old leaves.  Butterflies and moths and the subsequent caterpillars and worms will take over if you don't keep up.
We got totally overwhelmed in the greenhouse, the hoophouse and the raised beds.  We had way too much chard and kale.  Soon we'll have the farmstand at the paved road and we can sell what we don't eat.