Beach Grass 
Member since Oct 11, 2013

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Recent Comments

Re: “Wisdom of the Weeds

Or, test your soil. It's not expensive.

Some things wrong with this:

Bindweed grows in most local garden soil types.

The aggressive thistle weed species we get here occur primarily in low-tillage soil.

Vetch prefers slightly acidic soil and is well-adapted to high nitrogen content.

Some things right:

Yes, plant ryegrass and hairy vetch aka green manure.

Garden advice is nice and everything, but this stuff doesn't apply to our climate. Most of our soil problems are related to being too acidic and stripped of boron, not what kinds of weeds are growing. Getting a proper soil test will let one know accurately how to amend these issues.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ian Ray on 08/11/2015 at 6:05 PM

Re: “Kicking Gophers and Moles to the Curb

Ultrasonic gopher "repellants" don't work. No efficacy tests show any usefulness beyond a couple of days of reduced movement. After a couple of days, the gophers become used to the noise and are no longer startled by it.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ian Ray on 03/09/2015 at 1:17 PM

Re: “But Wait!

Anonymous comments really make a strong point talking about the person rather than the content of their letter. Oh, right, opposite of that.

0 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Ian Ray on 10/10/2014 at 6:53 AM

Re: “Mack Lovin'

I support appropriate licensing and I strongly support McKinleyville's journey toward having a decent wastewater system. I am told there was more than ag odors in this town before it had a reasonable wastewater system.

I don't support spending time and money on integrated pest management plans to placate a few worried people. I would understand full disclosure for a turf at a school. I don't think the same level of oversight applies to a fenced pasture irrigated with wastewater.

It is unfortunate that the person who sprayed 2,4-D didn't know California has additional restrictions. I don't think they were negligent beyond the state licensing issue. There is no evidence of any drift occurring aside from the subjective odor testimony. It would seem to me the herbicide was sprayed appropriately, so no harm, no foul. To assume the worst and call for unnecessary red tape is not caution from my perspective.

I'm sticking to my first impression: this kind of stuff belongs in Arcata. It was nice to read more of the story, thank you.

Posted by Ian Ray on 10/21/2013 at 11:49 PM

Re: “Mack Lovin'

The MSDS for Weedar 64 you linked to lists respiratory protection as "not normally required." I assume this is because it has low volatility (Weedar is marketed as a non-volatile preparation). If respiratory protection is not required for the person spraying it, why would it cause problems for people outside of the application area?

If all that is being asked for are notification signs and the law to be followed, I would absolutely agree with that. What seems to be asked is the MCSD be made responsible for regulating pest management. I hardly see how the MCSD should be or could be responsible for pest management; this point should be clarified.

The people I have talked to seemed to think Agent Orange was being sprayed. I would still consider this drumming up irrational fears for what was really a government paperwork issue. The original call to arms for fear of poisons is why I would consider this issue to be a result of activism.

Posted by Ian Ray on 10/21/2013 at 5:09 PM

Re: “Mack Lovin'

I can't speak to what the till was about. It looked like gypsum was being applied. This wouldn't surprise me as Tim Gomes had cows on the land for years before the Water Board and by extension EPA ran him off the property, so the sodium levels could have been higher than ideal from previous use.

I would beg to differ on DCP smell as a result of living near agricultural land. Everywhere I have lived near production land has had some incidental odor. At the very least, DCP is obvious. Fumigants aren't so obvious. When cows were on the land, it sometimes smelled like hydrogen sulfide like Windy Acres in Arcata does (although Windy Acres is far stinkier).

If you are going to pull the appeal to authority card, what in your professional opinion makes 2,4-D something to worry about other than odor or licensing? That is, does your view contrast to what the EPA says about 2,4-D?

Posted by Ian Ray on 10/21/2013 at 10:47 AM

Re: “Mack Lovin'

As I understand it, improper mixing and handling is the reason for requiring a applicator license to use higher concentration 2,4-D. I'm not surprised people from out of state are ignorant of California's specific concentration regulations. That doesn't make 2,4-D more dangerous in California, it just means there is some paperwork involved.

People only feel like they have a right to know how weeds are managed on the Fischer Ranch property because it is controlled publicly. Otherwise, it would basically none of their business. Incidental DCP smell would be part of living in a rural area and that would be that on private property. Personally, I would rather have someone doing something with the field than have it become a yellow starthistle and lupine breeding ground (maybe that is my own paranoia).

The wastewater upgrade should fix the algal blooms. Last year, when the rains came and the irrigation changed to irrigating the river, there was a sickly amount of algae. I am hoping upgrading Hiller Park fixes that. That said, considering how stretched the MCSD is with the whole Hiller Park wastewater upgrade, I don't really feel like the MCSD should be making time to hear some chemo-suspicious neighbors trying to tell a farmer what a seed drill is and how dangerous they think 2,4-D is. How to farm is really not a public issue and it reeks of naïve people thinking they know more than the folks who do what they do professionally. I would actually applaud the current board members for making it seem like such a hassle to be heard on an issue like this. They have my vote for keeping the process focused on things the MCSD has the ability and authority to effectively manage.

Posted by Ian Ray on 10/21/2013 at 7:31 AM

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