Monday, April 23, 2012

We all depend on Xenogamy

 I found the word Xe-nog-a-my in the dictionary while hunting for an X word for this week's post. It means, "transfer of pollen from one plant to another." Zowie! Without xenogamy, the human race would starve.

 I would love to make my living as a romance writer, but until that glorious day, I work as a Biodynamic gardener. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, raspberries, zucchini, winter squash, cucumbers, okra, sweet corn, tomatillos, melons, etc., I raise for my CSA's members need cross pollination. Most fruit and nut trees need insects for pollination. Cross pollination also produces seed for the following season, and creates the hybrid varieties that are productive in my chilly Zone 3 climate. Wild bees and honeybees from our hives pollinate my veggie and fruit crops.

 Agricultural practices that threaten honeybees should be questioned. Five years ago, the drug giant Bayer introduced a line of nicotianimide pesticides for Monsanto's GM field corn. The GM drug is applied to the seed, and is so powerful, dust from the planter that drifts onto bordering weeds kills bees gathering nectar from the flowers of the weeds months later. Scientists at the U of Pennsylvania determined recently the pesticides were causing colony collapse disorder.

 Monsanto and Bayer claim their proprietary seed/drug patents are in jeopardy if independent safety tests are conducted, so they are allowed to do their own testing. They are also allowed to release the drugs for use before testing data is reviewed. Most consumers are unaware of these practices. There is no way to put the genie back into the bottle. Cross pollination between GM and wild plants is occurring.

Consumers should be aware of what technology is doing / can do, and then choose to buy, or not buy, foods and food products with genetic mutations and designer drugs.

 Xenogamy. This word is going to stick with me.


  1. So, in other words, xenogamy really means sex. Right? :)

  2. I think the people in our world would fair far better if we all just went back to growing our own food!

  3. Great post! I love that you came across a word so closely related to what you do!

  4. Sex between two the male and female parts of two plants, Jen. So yes! Go to the head of the precocious class.

    Glad you liked it, Debra.

    Wendy, you are absolutely right, but so many people work so hard they don't have time to grow their own food. The trouble is they also don't have time to assess their food choices.

  5. Great word - and I love how Jen related it to sex LOL.
    If I had to grow my own food, though, I would starve - unless I could manage to live on weeds! Dandelion sandwich anyone?
    (Sorry I'm late tonight, been running a quiz night for 35 people)

  6. Dandelion flower cookies are wonderful. I'm not so keen on dandelion greens.

  7. Google dandelion food, Ana - there's a website telling you how to take the bitterness from dandelion greens! I believe dandelion wine is quite good too, although I've never had any.