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Comments (28)

  • the_virginian
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm going to have to agree with this information as it would seem at best seaweed extract would only give some additional trace elements to plants while reducing the CO2 removing abilities of seaweed in the marine ecosystem.

  • marshallz10
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I agree, she is a piece of work.

  • justaguy2
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I also agree she is not to be taken seriously. She is a professional anti who is very good at self promotion. Her articles cherry pick studies and ignore relevant details contradicting her position.

    Having said that I would agree that there are claims made about seaweed that are not supported by the available evidence. This is true of a lot of gardening topics and everyone wants to market the next 'miracle' product whether natural or man made.

    Still, we do know that seawater is filled with just about every naturally occurring substance on earth and that seaweed thus tends to contain a tremendous diversity of minerals and other potentially good 'stuff'.

    In particular seaweed is a good organic means of ensuring all the minor nutrients are present for our plants. Kind of like using compost, except that the plant diversity is lower while still providing a wide spectrum of nutrients and growth regulators. And it's in liquid form which makes it easy to apply with a watering.

    I do not know if any environmental issues exist with it's harvest, but I kind of doubt it. It's like weeds anywhere. Wherever they tend to grow, they grow and grow and grow. To the extent that harvesting seaweed is doing any environmental harm it's unlikely to be anything that can't be addressed with legislation regulating the harvest.

  • Kimmsr
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Professor Chalker-Smith tends to rile up some people because she often debunks common myths that some people hold dear. Others, having never actually read what she has written, will just not read what she writes because it is also contrary to the myths they hold dear. Since the Professor has a pHD in horticulture it is highly unlikely anyone can really debunk what she writes easily, however.

  • hoorayfororganic
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    "She tried to prove compost tea is bad by PURPOSELY using E.Coli infested compost (without telling anyone about it) and proclaimed it as unsafe product to use! Needless to say, I stay away from her papers, articles, etc since then."

    -Source? I'd be interested to read it.

    "Her articles cherry pick studies and ignore relevant details contradicting her position."

    Evidence? Examples?

  • lou_spicewood_tx
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It's actually true. i read it somewhere. Go dig them up for yourself.

  • justaguy2
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Her articles cherry pick studies and ignore relevant details contradicting her position."
    Evidence? Examples?

    Her article on the non sustainability of peat, which you linked to in your other thread in this forum, is a prime example of her techniques of cherry picking and ignoring relevant details.

    Read through that article again and see if she presents the findings of the Canadian government on the harvest of peat. Shouldn't that information be there? Isn't it relevant?

    She also says the restored peat bogs do not return to their previous functionality. She then contradicts herself by saying is takes 'some years' before they return to normal functionality. This means it's a few decades to complete restoration instead of the hundreds of years she sites.

    Very misleading.

    She also uses UK sources and doesn't bother to mention that peat harvesting in the UK is not comparable to peat harvesting in Canada. The Brits had a legitimate problem with the way they allowed peat to be harvested. They have good reason to not use it. The Canadian government regulates to avoid the problems. She doesn't mention this.

    In other words she presents one side of the discussion, the one she favors.

  • tey157
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What a bunch of BS! I can see the results when I fertilize my plants.

  • hoorayfororganic
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That's because you are fertilizing them, perhaps? =)

  • the_virginian
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This looks like more "chicken little" grandstanding from the original poster who sees everything as a crisis. If you like peat and seaweed extract for your plants and it works, use it. I know there are better alternatives for some situations, but to make it sound like the stuff is snake oil or baby seals had to be clubbed to make the stuff, is a joke!

  • hoorayfororganic
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I dont think anyone was suggestion that. I was just wondering if it were a myth or not after seein this article, not what eco damage it causes.

  • lorna-organic
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I made seaweed tea last year and applied it to half of my corn. This was a small home garden experiment. Guess which plants were larger and produced better? I'll be making a regular habit of using seaweed tea in future.

    I was recently taken to task on another forum for my use of peat, much to my disgust. I let the self-righteous poster get away with it. I live at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert. Much of my property is very sandy. If I want to garden successfully here, I need to add peat and compost.

    Strip mining anything is bad news. If thoughtful management practices are employed, the scenario should be win/win. I definitely agree that many people are prone to jumping on bandwagons without researching all sides of an issue. PhDs can be just as guilty as everybody else.

    I worked at the University of California, Berkeley for 27 years. I saw manipulation of data, as well as omission of relevant data, because it didn't suit the results desired by the researcher and/or the funding source.

    I challenged researchers from time to time as to why certain considerations had not been taken into account in their research. A number of times the answer was that the researcher had not been aware, or had not thought of that particular thing. Usually I was thanked and I was told I had given the researcher cause to rethink the parameters of the study. Sometimes lack of money was cited as the reason for less than well-rounded research. Some studies were what I called psuedo-science. The parameters were developed according to the results desired by the funding source. Big oil companies fund much of the research being done in the Chemistry Department.
    Lorna

  • hoorayfororganic
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That doesn't seem like a very conclusive experiment, with all due respect.

    Interesting about your research experiences. Thank you..

    The peat thing...*zip*

  • dicot
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think its hard to make definitive conclusions because there are so many seaweed species and only a few have been used commercially. I like it better than mineral dust, but not enough to use it often.

    I will say regarding Canadian peat that their industry is regulated, but so was forestry and they had the highest rate of logging in primary forest in the 80's and 90's - beyond even Indonesia and Brazil. Mining Canadian peat is a really bad idea.

  • the_virginian
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Because you mine or harvest more doesn't always make it a bad thing if you have much more of a resource to start with. If I have two trees and I cut down one of them, that is worse than say I have 20,000 and cut down 1,000. Which forest will recover faster? Like always, the devil is in the details, not propaganda sound bites.

  • dchall_san_antonio
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Evidence, examples, and sources would be good. Where are Chalker-Scott's? All she does is assert her own views and attribute them to others. How do you get a Ph.D without citing a single source? She reminds me of Hurricane Hattie in the link...

    Here is a link that might be useful: On internet research

  • dicot
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That's a really strange analogy Virginian. Wouldn't it matter what other species depended on that tree (or forest grove), what the logging methods used are, if roads are built and if the steep hillsides facilitate erosion, whether agressive colonizer species changed the forest composition, and what is the rarity of the tree species harvested? Besides, those peat bogs aren't growing back.

    That analogy doesn't seem applicable to the peat situation in Canada to me at all.

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Somebody with more time and less gag reflex than I have can analyze the internal inconsistencies in the document. I caught a few in passing ("It does, but it doesn't" classifications) but didn't go further than that. There were deeper issues.

    This study lacks a few things, like actual science. There's no hypothesis and no factual information included to prove it, nor references to same (which would be just fine by me). The p value is not reported, nor any standard deviations, reducing it to anecdotes. Except without the actual anecdotes.

    Um, peer review, anyone? Bueller? Bueller? (Twenty points to anybody who gets why this is applicable in this day and age).

    I can't go on. Truly. Suffice to say I give this a rank of "pseudo-science." I can't stand pseudo-science.

    I'll warrant that 90% of my organic gardening is anecdotal in nature, but I'm not attempting to do science. Were I, I guarantee I'd have excellent controls, data, and a reported methodology and statistical analysis.

    Snark mode off.

  • hamiltongardener
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Linda Chalker Scott, self-important self-proclaimed expert?

    I have read links to some of her stuff. Some of it I don't know about and some of it I thought was fishy. It is interesting that some have pointed out her lack of references and studies. If something is an opinion, just let it be known as an opinion. Don't try to pass it off as scientific and sound fact.

    I'll keep a wary eye out for any of her "wisdom" in the future and be sure to research further.

  • maplerbirch
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Whether pseudo science or not. What are we talking about :)

    This would be a good time to present both sides of the argument 'scientifically'.
    Bashing an errant report accomplishes nothing :) It would be good for me to learn something here.

  • justaguy2
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Whether pseudo science or not. What are we talking about :)

    ;-) This would be a good time to present both sides of the argument 'scientifically'.

    In this thread the discussion is on whether or not their is value in seaweed products for gardening. The OP presented a link to an article/study written by Linda Chalker-Scott.

    Many of us have had all we can stand of her pseudo science, her cherry picking data and self contradiction in an attempt to continue publishing her 'myth' series of articles.

    Normally the subject itself (seaweed) could be discussed in a reasonable manner, but in this case the source is so gawd awful that she seems to be the subject of discussion instead. I find value in this because she is very good at self promotion and her articles are widely linked. I see her positions repeated frequently on various forums by people who mean well, but don't know better.

    I guess to me the science is pretty clear. Seaweed has been tested and found to contain virtually everything that is in seawater. I am sure there are variations from one batch to the next and all that, but overall seaweed contains the full spectrum of plant nutrients, at least in small amounts. This makes it useful as one means of being sure the soil is supplied with everything rather than just an NPK approach.

    As for it's harvest being detrimental to the environment I just don't see it although I have no knowledge of the harvesting practices. In 'fancier' areas people actually have jobs employed to go rake the seaweed out of the oceans to keep public areas clear. They no sooner remove it than more grows in it's place. I suppose there may be some really bad management practices out there in which case I would like to know about it and not support the industry until corrected, but yikes... It's called seaweed because it's a weed in the sea.

  • dchall_san_antonio
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This would be a good time to present both sides of the argument 'scientifically'.

    We'll go ahead and use it for the results we get while waiting for science to demonstrate that it has no value in agriculture.

    I'm still waiting for someone to prove the plow is an effective tool over the long term and is not responsible for creating the Louisiana Mississippi Delta out of the farmland of Missouri.

  • lorna-organic
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Very good justaguy and dchall, AGREED. Now, where did I put that stinky stuff... I'll be in the garden planting seeds today.

    Lorna

  • rdak
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I posted this last year to show how Chaulker-Scott oftentimes goes WAY overboard in her assertions. There are more examples but this is one that is fairly typical IMHO.

    As to Chaulker/Scott - she makes many overblown statements in her myth papers IMHO.

    From the old post:

    One example deals with her conclusion that bone meal is detrimental to plant growth due to its inhibition on beneficial fungi growth.

    The detailed study below shows some basis for her conclusions but the bonemeal was not nearly as detrimental on beneficial fungi as she opines IMHO. In fact, in one test bone meal was beneficial for fungi innoculation!

    Plus the fact that bone meal can help grow plants in and of itself. Well at least it has always helped me in my gardening as well as millions of other gardeners.

    Look at the last paragraph and see where bone meal, peat, mineral soil and innoculated fungi WAS NOT detrimental to fungi innoculation. So sometimes bone meal might reduce fungi development, sometimes increase it, sometimes nothing - but to say that it prevents fungi innoculation is way overblown IMHO. This is typical of Chaulker/Scott IMHO.

    Not that bone meal is required, this is just an example of Chaulker/Scott's exaggerations. Do not believe, at 100 percent, everything you read from her myth papers IMHO.

    Quote:
    Mycorrhizal inoculation of organically grown tomato plants

    Siri Caspersen
    Department of Horticulture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 55, SE- 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden

    Improvement of plant nutrient uptake and protection against root pathogens by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) might contribute to a reduced utilization of soluble fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture and horticulture. For organic cultivation of glasshouse crops, regulation of nutrient supply and of the balance between nutrients is a major challenge. Common nutrient sources are green and animal manures together with plant and animal residues from the food industry. The recommended soil nutrient levels for glasshouse cultures are gerally high and based on easily available nutrients extracted by water or weak acids. Thus, for P in particular, luxury levels are common in the soil and the risk of P leakage is evident.

    When tomatoes are cultivated organically in the same soil for consecutive years, root pathogens may also become a problem. Root colonisation by mycorrhizal fungi in combination with the use of slowly soluble P- sources might be desirable both for bioprotection against root diseases and for a reduced risk of P leakage. However, establishment of mycorrhizal root colonisation is difficult due to the normally high soil P concentrations in combination with a widespread use of peats, which have a low P- fixing capacity, for pH regulation and for soil structure improvement. The aim of the presented work was to investigate the influence of organic and slowly soluble fertilizers and of inoculation with AMF on mycorrhizal root colonisation and on plant growth and nutrient uptake of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Delito) plants grown until planting stage (six weeks after sowing) in soil- or peat- based substrates.

    In sterilized soil: sand (1: 1, v: v) amended with apatite and bonemeal, we observed a strong plant growth response to inoculation with an isolate of Glomus intraradices. Plant growth was lower and the mycorrhizal response stronger in pots where the slowly soluble Psource apatite was added alone in comparison with pots where apatite and bone meal were added together. Mycorrhizal root colonisation and sporulation were reduced by the addition of bone meal. The positive response of plant growth and nutrient uptake to mycorrhizal inoculation in the soil: sand was probably related to an increased P uptake of the mycorrhizal plants.

    The effects of inoculation with Glomus intraradices (BEG87) and addition of bone meal and/ or blood meal were investigated for tomato plants grown in a substrate containing mineral soil and peat (4: 1, v: v). Root mycorrhizal colonisation was high (60- 80%) in pots containing either bone meal or blood meal or none of them. When both fertilizers were present, however, AM fungal colonisation was reduced. Inoculation with G. intraradices increased shoot dry weight in comparison with the uninoculated plants for all fertilizer combinations, and in particular for blood meal alone where no growth response was observed for nonmycorrhizal plants. It is possible that an AMF- mediated increase in plant the uptake of P was necessary for a positive effect of blood meal on plant growth. As the mineral soils in the substrate had been partly sterilized, however, introduced microorganisms were probably quite important for the mineralisation of bone and blood meal, and effects of other microorganisms associated with the AM fungus on plant utilization of the organic fertilizers can not be excluded.

    End quote.

  • jolj
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    lorna-organic, i think there is more Psuedo-science out there then we will ever know.
    Having a PhD means you are driven, hard working & a little smarter the the other bears. It does not mean you are always right or truthful. To say she/ he is right because they have a degree, is like saying a preacher can not lie!
    It is true most of the time , but not always.
    Buyer beware, if it looks like a duck.............
    Why do one have to be right just because they have a PhD, isn't PhD's the once who made the GMO pollen & GMO seeds?

  • darth_weeder
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    "Having a PhD means you are driven, hard working & a little smarter then the other bears."

    to be truthful jolj,
    it depends who the other bears are.

    speaking as one who doesn't use seaweed extract.
    fresh or dried seaweed is another story.

  • jolj
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    THAT right, you have a truck load.
    How is that working for you?
    And the bear thing, I was trying to be nice.
    I have been told that I......me..... can be hard headed.