Sunday, April 22, 2012

Switching To Flowers

The plan of growing my own food has taken a bit of a detour thanks to the ongoing Nuclear crisis. The wife (rightly) put her foot down and said: "No more garden or local vegetables for the children or me."
As much as it pains me to admit it, she is right. The Japanese Government allows ridiculously high levels of contamination- up to 100 Bq/Kg.
I found this online-
Given several uncertainties in the data basis for risk assessment we must recommend that infants, children and adolescents be given no food or beverages with a contamination of more than 4 Becquerel of the leading radionuclide Cesium-137 per kilogram.We recommend that grown-ups refrain from consuming food and beverages with a contamination of more than 8 Becquerel per kilogram of the leading radionuclide Cesium-137.
 I of course plan on having my crops tested at the city testing station, but they can only measure down to16Bq/Kg. What if there are 15 in my food? They would come back as "clean".

I have a pathological need to grow things. I can't help it. So I am switching to growing flowers mostly. Of course, I will grow the most wonderful flowers in the world- Sunflowers! Giant ones! 2m and more! (insert joke about men always thinking about size here) I will also grow some pumpkins for Halloween, and a few vegetables for me and me alone. They say as a rule of thumb, that 1% of the soil contamination will enter your crops. I have 400Bq/kg in the soil, so I can expect about 4 in the crops. But since I can't prove that it is less than four, so I won't feed them to my kids. I am 40 now, and think I can probably take that chance.

As an added bonus, I plan to test the garden soil again before the sunflowers, and again after I take them out by the roots. I will also test the roots of the flowers to see how much Cesium-137 they suck up. In the control plot I will fertilize with heavy N and P, but no extra K. I hypothesize that the plants will take up extra Cs, thinking it is Potassium.


  1. Man, Eric, my heart goes out to you guys. It's been made clear to me through your earlier posts that this is a very serious thing. Is it getting worse?

    1. It doesn't appear to be getting any worse at the moment. There have been a few spikes in the airborne levels, but I think those are probably due to the wind picking up contaminated soil. There are a lot of people watching that now, so it would be pretty hard to cover something up.

      But that said, it doesn't appear to be getting much better either.

      Natural decay will halve the total amount of materials in 5 more years (Cs 134 will have gone through three half lives), but after that, it will be about 150 years before it is below most detection thresholds.