Last year I wrote a post for The Grow Network on Straw Bale Gardening… and along came Joel Karsten to attack me, the site itself, and other commenters there.
“This article is EXTREMELY misleading. Many basic facts counter to the authors agenda are simply, maybe purposefully, left out. Selling straw or hay sprayed with the listed herbicides is “off lable” use and therefore illegal. Farmers would be extremely unlikely to ever allow their crop to enter this market. In addition while this article makes many claims which might lead readers to believe this is an issue on a large scale, the fact is that very few actual cases where this has happened have ever been actually documented. These involved hay bales, and not straw. To my knowledge, not a single documented case exists of straw causing this issue. I have 23 years of extensive experience with straw bale gardening, and my opinion is that this article is simply “click bate” trying to create controversy where none should exist.”
To this, Pam responds:
“No. Sorry, but you are simply wrong. Almost all straw is sprayed nowadays, not only for weeds, etc but also to dessicate the grain more quickly.
I bought round bales of straw for a horse shelter and almost 15 years later, there is still no sign of anything sprouting out of the straw. I hadn’t thought to ask at the time, but clearly it’d been sprayed.
Not that many people yet use glyphosates on hay, but some do, for the same reason. Things have changed a lot.. I first saw what could happen when friends had to buy hay one year and every single one of their mares aborted; when they finally looked at the hay, they found it had been dessicated, something that none of us had ever run across before so it never crossed anyone’s mind to ask!!this year I saw ads that proudly ADVERTISED the fact that the hay had been dessicated!
I live in the prairies, where grain is grown on farms from small up to townships in size, and it is getting harder and harder to find straw that hasn’t been sprayed. It is the norm now. Farmers have been told for years that it’s safe.. just as doctors used to tell people it was safe to smoke… so because they believe that they not only sell it, but they sell it for feed extender as well as bedding.
Thousands of gardens in Britain were poisoned by contaminated manure. That product is no longer sold but it was too late for the gardens. I once got one bale of hay in a semiload that must have been sprayed with something.. it looked normal, but where it had sat on the ground NOTHING would grow for almost 8 years. NOTHING. not even the toughest of weeds. I still don’t know what was in it, but now, almost 12 years later, the grass is finally filling in the area.
None of the studies saying this stuff safe have been done by governments, they have simply taken Monsanto’s word for it. Not the Canadian government, not the American government. If you actually look at ANY of the studies done by anyone not being paid by Monsanto et al. you will find that the results are invariably that it is NOT safe, that is DOES stay in the soil for at least a year. It’s been scientifically linked to cancers, diabetes, autism, leaky gut and a host of other diseases. It’s been banned in three countries for causing an epidemic of kidney failure deaths in farmers, specifically traced to glyphosate, and even the WHO says it is likely to cause human cancers.
This is important stuff for people to know, it isn’t just click bait, it’s bringing people real information on just how dangerous the world has become, when farming relies on poisoning the food we eat.”
But then Joel Karsten comes back with this comment:
So are the EPA and the NIH telling the truth in the above links to two most recent studies that all the hype over the toxicity of Glyphosate aka Round-Up, is total bunk? By the acute standard of LD50, glyphosate is indeed less toxic than either caffeine or table salt. It has an LD50 of 5600 mg/kg based on oral ingestions in rats, according to EPA assessments, placing it in Toxicity Category III. Did you know that the LD50 (lethal dose of 50% of exposed) Coffee is 192 mg/kg which means coffee is 29 times as deadly to a humans as Round-Up. Keep your head in the sand if you want, but don’t try to educate me about the use of Ag Chemicals until you get your basic facts in order.
The attempt to manipulate people’s opinions by those who do not even a basic understanding of FACTS, is very frustrating. People like the author of this article who simply read propaganda and recites as fact anomaly occurrences that are neither controlled nor evaluated based on any scientific technique or protocols. Your arguments are similar to people that used to be convinced that the earth was flat, simply because they did not understand basic science nor would they listen to those who tried to reason with them. Keep up the ignorance at home because nobody will protect you from yourself, but don’t try to spread that ignorance to others publicly and expect to never be challenged for your ignorance.
This article is completely “Clickbate”. Understand that the owner or this blog gets paid by his advertisers based on how much traffic he generates. I am sorry to those who believe a word of it, many of you are simply victims of this author’s ignorance and deceitful intent to generate clicks.”
So, Joel is calling myself and another gardener in the thread ignorant, deceiving manipulators without a basic understanding of facts… and more… and well, let’s not spend the whole day listing names, shall we?
Really, responding to this kind of attack is almost too easy. Almost like:
Except I like that Joel better than this one.
But respond I shall.
When Garden Authors Attack
So who is Joel Karsten, you ask?
He’s the guy who runs StrawBaleGardens.com and is the author of the book Straw Bale Gardens.
Yet here he shows up to say my experiences with long-term herbicides are “similar to people that used to be convinced that the earth was flat”
And he says “Keep up the ignorance at home because nobody will protect you from yourself, but don’t try to spread that ignorance to others publicly and expect to never be challenged for your ignorance.”
Well, guess what Joel Karsten, author of Straw Bale Gardens… you seem to be a bit socially challenged.
Your trolling and sanctimonious attitude has been noted.
Ah, the irony of a guy who writes “This article is completely “Clickbate”. Understand that the owner or this blog gets paid by his advertisers based on how much traffic he generates. I am sorry to those who believe a word of it, many of you are simply victims of this author’s ignorance and deceitful intent to generate clicks…”
…and says this while actually running the site STRAWBALEGARDENS.COM.
Projection, perhaps? How do you get paid, Joel? Are you giving your books away for free?
Note also that Joel Karsten tries to refute the pesticide point by quoting government sources on their safety.
Oh yes, Joel, we believe the government. We are good citizens, Joel.
We need to believe the government, right? If we didn’t, we might stop planting straw bale gardens and you’d lose sales.
Methinks you project too much, Mr. StrawBaleGardens.com.
Try showing some civility before you roast another garden writer for sharing his point of view.
I have had nasty experiences with long-term pesticides and am interested in seeing people’s gardens stay alive.
And yes, I do write for money.
This is part of “being an author,” something Troll Karsten should know something about.
Look, if there are potentially serious problems with your gimmicky gardening style, well then, try to defend it. Tell people how they’re wrong without assuming they’re flat-earthers who are hunting for gardeners to deceive.
I’ve certainly been wrong before. Many times. I even became friends with one critic who corrected some of my assumptions.
Unfortunately, Karsten’s big list of insults was childish… much like his spelling, punctuation and capitalization. I’m surprised he managed to get published, considering his lack of basic English skills.
My article wasn’t a personal attack but it’s personal now.
I didn’t even know who Joel was before he came in to call me names… yet now his hypocrisy and vitriol are preserved and presented for all of you to see. I might have been convinced to write a follow-up post if he had simply spoken reasonably.
Next time, refute the points rather than attacking the author, Joel.
Especially an author with my motto.
“Follow the money.” This is a statement I repeat ad nauseam, to my young nephew, to my family, to my friends. My second favorite statement after ” Question Authority”, but the two go hand in hand these days. It has recently come to light that big corporations had paid scientist to study the correlation between fat and a myriad of diseases. What did they find? Exactly what the big corporations paid them to find. What did these big corporations sell? Carbs and sugar. You see, just because one is a man of science, does not mean he doesn’t like, nor want, money. You can google, duckduckgo, ect what the scientific method is. While you look at this, notice nowhere in the process is there a step that includes money. I, for one, am a fan of science, but it is not my religion. It can be bastardized, and very easy to manipulate. When you start with a conclusion, and not a question, things go down hill very quickly. Also, when only experimental conclusions that support the theory are kept, and and conclusions that do NOT support are thrown away, the end conclusion must be deemed null and void. This new “scientific method” is what is being used to prove global climate change. Science is supposed to be about facts, not feelings. Monsanto donates huge amounts of money to political campaigns, not to mention how detrimental they have been to farmers. If a farmer is growing soy bean or corn, and he does not use Monsanto seed, but an OP seed, he does this so he can collect seed, as to not have to buy new seed every year. If he is as unlucky, as more and more farmers are becoming, he will be surrounded by other farmers, who use Monsanto seed. What’s the big deal, you ask? Monsanto has their GMO seed trademarked, so if the OP seed has been pollinated by the GMO seed, and the farmer collects seed for next years crop, Monsanto can, and will sue him, and they will win. Why? Follow the money. Question authority. So, come to your own conclusions, I for one, do not trust any Government back study, this is why we need to get money out of politics, and out of our government.
I have never met David, we converse through email and comment sections. I consider him a friend and kindred spirit. Reading this boiled my blood, I had to sit for a minute and get myself back to objectivity. This Joel feller wrote a hit piece about my buddy, but after much consternation, I realized how subjective we all can be. I hope Joel can wipe away the tears, do some introspecting, and contact Dave. His method may work. I haven’t to date, read anything Dave has written that says otherwise. Dave has written warnings. He has never said all hay and straw is poisonous, just you do not know what is and isn’t. I have fought the urge to find this guy, and troll the hell out of him. I do not think this would be helpful. That being said, don’t mess with my friends, and don’t call them liars, when in the act of doing so, in fact, makes you a liar. I got your back Dave.
Thanks, Danny. You’re right on “science” – it follows the money.
Further to the discussion of “scientific” studies, here is a fascinating video related to medical research and how the studies are performed and ghostwritten by the manufacturers, not the actual, credentialed doctors who sign off and get credit. It’s long but worth it.
Thank you, Candace. Peer review is a joke.
As being a chemist and reading those government articles , I have to laugh, propaganda is still alive and well in America.
Don’t be mistaken.
David is sound and strong with facts.
The other guy most likely believes Brown cows give chocolate milk, like the other 14.7 million people who believe this to be true. This is how sad our lives have become. I still remember doctors on t.v. bold face lying about the studies they had done on cigarettes, saying they were 100% safe. I guess we can ignore that study too. Let’s talk about the government’s idea for ending prohibition.
They decided to poison 7000 gallons of hooch, then redistribute it back into what the white man considered the dregs of society’s neighborhoods.
Well needless to say ,many people died. But if it had not been for the fact that some of the judges, lawmakers, police, etc were drinking that same hooch and died, most likely we would not have had a case for prohibition to end.
And we the women ended prohibition because we did not want our children dying at the hands of a vile and corrupt government such as the U.S.
When our government starts telling the truth you’ll know it was just a dream and you were sleeping.
Wake up and know this fact also, if you publicly write about someone’s site being click bait, you can be sued and end up as jail bait instead.
Be aware and you are warned.
Because if you want someone to tell the truth on your site with facts, you might want to start a new business. Because I will swamp you with every scientific article to put you to bed in a coma
Educate yourself on real science.
And most importantly stop being a uneducated bully troll.
Oh another thing, don’t use nematodes they get big and kill the bees.
The government knows this too, yet you can still buy nematodes for your supposed organic garden and kill off the bees at the same time…weeeeeeee, government science….you get my point.
I guess this comment strawabales made, pissed me off enough to write this long ass comment.
Lucky he’s not my neighbor, I would have to police his gardening so mine won’t suffer.
Thank you, Celeste.
My dear sir:
Greetings from Sunny Florida!
I would like to say two things:
1.) The first thing is that in my wife’s garden patch, we have a big dust-bowl where there once were green… um, thingies… growing. We tried this growing-food-in-bales-of-hay idea, and nothing has grow there since. Three years since we used the hay! I know I suck at gardening, but I can usually at least grow some assorted weeds (mainly so I can pretend I am doing some chop-n-drop, which I learned about while glancing through your very informative books while on the commode).
2.) The second thing is that Joel will always be the best MST3K guy! Let us be clear on this.
3.) The third is those danged-dirty velvet beans have sent me into an early-onset Manopause.
Wait, that’s three things. Just ignore the first one…
Yeah, a friend lost a lot thanks to hay. Now Karsten may have a point on straw – it might be different – but I did some reading and long-term aminopyralid herbicides are indeed approved for grain crops. Why take the risk?
And ah… you’re in the Hodgson camp.
I still kind of like Mike better.
Favorite episode ever: Puma Man. Or maybe Squirm. Or The Final Sacrifice. One of those is definitely my favorite.
What about Space Mutiny?! Or Phantom Planet?! Those are my hubby’s top two!
Ain’t it a shame the OP farmer can’t sue Monsanto for trespassing!
I do container gardening: I have more than 100 of the 5 gallon buckets. Some of my pots of dirt are growing things OK, and some of my pots of dirt won’t grow much at all. The pots were assembled at different times with different materials from various sources. I’m pretty sure the composted dirt I got from my lawn guy was heavy with weed killers. Mulch I got from the county may have been contaminated as well. Who knows what goes into it?
Recently I planted dry beans in a whole lot of my pots, as a cover crop during the summer heat in Florida. Wow, was that revealing! I now know exactly which pots are fertile and which ones aren’t.
IMO, the problems with weedkillers and glyphosates in particular are very real. Not just in straw or hay, but also in the composted manure at the garden stores. I’ve had enough problems with “bad dirt” that now I’m only willing to use materials I can get from my own yard.
Our neighbor had horses, and one batch of hay made her horses very sick. It was getting to the point where she wasn’t sure where she could buy straw or hay for her horses that was safe.
Yeah – even the composted manure for sale now can be contaminated. It’s a huge problem. Most garden articles and books are still stuck in the past at this point.
So sad. Thank you for upholding truth.
Thank you, Pamela. I try. I don’t always know what the truth is on everything, but I hunt as best as I can.
I think we were very lucky this year. Had success with hey bale gardening. Not qorth roulette game next year though. Will have to return to basics. I like new idea, square foot gardening was fun too. Too bad.
I’ll never understand why so many people come out guns blazing when they discover that someone disagrees with them. Defending their beliefs at all costs, attempting to cast doubt on their imagined opponents by calling them names rather than refuting their positions with facts in a civil manner.
Wait, I think I just figured it out. It’s because they know they are wrong and have an ulterior motive to protect their position.
Whew! I feel better now. I think I’ll go put some more bate in my traps.
Un-believeable!! We have poisoned our food supply over the years, with preservatives and processing. Now we are poisoning the land where our food grows. Are we the smart ones?
Anybody who references “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in his post is alright by me.
Heh. Thanks, Hank.
Doesn’t it break down in 5 years? The echo chamber you are “surviving” in is keeping you from seeing something more important. Gardening is easy and fun. Joel Karsten’s message is vastly better than your millenial snowflake woowoo fussy mission statement bullshit. Go sit on your $200 broadfork
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