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Housecalls Garden Slugs, The Force of Reiki, Why Organic Is More Expensive
By Jody Berman
Q I have slugs in my garden. Are there natural methods that can control them?
A Yes. Most garden pests and weeds can be controlled without applying chemical pesticides. Here are some tips to keep slugs from damaging seedlings, lettuce and other plants.
“Healthy soil is very important,” says Eileen Weinsteiger, manager of the Rodale Institute’s demonstration gardens in Kutztown, Pa. Enrich your soil with nutrient-rich compost in both the spring and fall, Weinsteiger advises. Healthy soil will improve chances for growing healthy plants that will have strong natural defenses against slugs.
Additionally, slugs like dampness but not heat. Weinsteiger recommends laying green grass clippings where you’ve spotted slugs. As the clippings heat up, they become more abrasive, and slugs don’t like the texture. Or sprinkle gritty substances like diatomaceous earth, crushed eggshells or sand around slug hangouts. Wear a mask when using diatomaceous earth, cautions Weinsteiger (the fine particles can get into the lungs), and reapply after rain.
Stale beer set in shallow containers attracts slugs, which will drown in the brew. And copper strips used as a barrier emit an electrical charge to repel them.
Q What is Reiki used for, and how does it work?
A Reiki (RAY-key) is a form of energy medicine used to relax the mind, decrease pain and accelerate healing. Derived from the Japanese words rei (universal spirit) and ki (life energy), Reiki means “universal life energy.”
As “conduits” for this energy, Reiki practitioners apply light touch around or on the receiver’s clothed body, allowing the energy “to flow through them and through their hands into the receiver. The energy will go where the receiver needs it at that particular time,” says Maya Page, Reiki practitioner/trainer in Santa Fe, N.M. Different hand positions are used on the head, abdomen, back and elsewhere to help restore physical and emotional well-being.
Reiki practitioners are trained to work on themselves, too—“it’s like having a first-aid kit at our fingertips,” Page says.
Reiki was introduced to the United States in the 1930s from Japan. Although there has been little scientific study, Reiki is practiced throughout the world and increasingly is being used as an adjunct therapy in hospitals and other conventional healthcare settings. For more information, visit www. reikialliance.org.
Why Organic Is Expensive
Q Why is organic produce often more expensive than nonorganic?
A For starters, organic farming is more labor intensive than conventional farming. Instead of using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, organic farmers employ crop rotation, crop covering, biological soil amendments and other methods that build healthy soil and help protect the environment and farmworkers from toxic and persistent chemicals. Additionally, certified organic farmers must maintain detailed farm plans and comply with stricter federal re...