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April 16th  2011    Tim Candler

    This Tuesday is Tomato seedling planting day.  Call it April Fools if you have to, but there is a Big Boy too tall for his glass house.  And there may be fungicide because there is no doubt in my mind that last year's  'exploding Tomato Problem' can only get worse.

    The sadness is Tomato least hybridized were most prone, putting us further and further into the debt of a technical progress which gives weight to an idea of perfection as perpetual war.  An eternal struggle where the death of another is the only victory.  Honor and glory the only reward.  Fantastic wealth the only purpose.  And I could go on to mention catwalks and beauty products, question the distinction between artillery and washing machines.

     Fungicides have often contained elements that stay for ever in soil, damaging the cycles of earthworms and insects, causing harm to the birds that eat them. 

     I believe it was a  grower in France first applied Bordeaux Mix to his grapes in the hope of discouraging those who passed by his fields from being tempted to steal grapes from him. It was copper sulfate and lime in his mix that turned his vines unappetizing.  Then at harvest time it was noticed those vines he had sprayed to keep people away where freer of pestilence than those vines he had left unsprayed. 

    In the nineteen twenties Bordeaux Mix earned the name 'parakeet' amongst fruit workers in South America because it turned them blue before killing them.  The company was United Fruit of Banana Republic fame and these days its ruins are called Chiquita Brands International, which was cute of them.

     But perhaps all that is politics, better left to those who need to win.

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