mstadler1003
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:10 pm

Health issues, can't find truly organic garden soil

Hello,
I'm starting a raised bed vegetable garden and having a tough time finding good material to fill it with. I have a 1 year old son who has recovered from a serious brain condition, and I've been advised to keep his diet as free of chemicals and pesticides as I can.

The problem is that I've called just about every nursery in the area and I can't find ANY that can tell me for sure whether their materials had been sprayed at some post. "Organic" compost isn't really organic for me if the grass clippings that went into it were sprayed with Roundup at some point. For that same reason I don't want to go with bagged soils because that word "organic" on the label seems to have nothing to do with what kind of chemicals or sprays might have been used BEFORE the material was actually composted.

I guess my question is two part. First, is there anything I should be looking into besides just a mix of topsoil and compost? Would peat moss or vermiculite or anything like that be less likely to contain pesticide chemicals? And if not, is there anywhere else I should look for materials?

My son has been getting better for a while now and it's possible that my desire to keep that going has caused me to overthink this, but I welcome any feedback you might have. Thank you

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Health issues, can't find truly organic garden soil

It probably worth noting you may be limited to compost you make your self.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27736
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Health issues, can't find truly organic garden soil

Hi. I have severe chemical sensitivities, so somewhat similar though not as critical as your son's situation. But as a mother, I can understand how much you want to do this the right way for his sake.

I would like to approach the scenario from another direction, however. First, obviously, stop using any chemicals on your own lawn and yard, maintain a buffer zone between your neighbors so he is within the "safe" area. In and out of the house, eliminate/substitute every suspect product, including bath and laundry, personal care products. In the kitchen, I didn't realize for example, that Ivory Liquid dish soap could cause asthma. I was hand washing more while trying to look for a "safe" dishwasher detergent....

Now, regarding the soil mix for your raised bed, realize that if your son won't be playing "in the dirt" he will be one step removed from direct contact with whatever is in the soil. You may want to look at it in MORE THAN SIMPLY ORGANIC APPROACH -- meaning rather than the soil less vermiculite, peat, etc. which are not "living soil food web". There is an excellent thread about this that I will find the link for later....
Found it: :arrow: Subject: Organic? or sorta

When the soil is alive with diversity of microbes the pollutants will undergo several iterations of biological processing as they are digested and broken down, so that by the time they are chemically recombined to be used by the plants, they may not be the same as they were before. a GOOD compost will contain the biologically diverse beneficial organisms you want to introduce to your soil. They are the equivalent of good yogurt with multiple live and active beneficial bacteria, good yeast bread, lacto-fermented foods, and all the enzymes.

That's how I view my garden.

You do need to understand that at the same time, there will be more exposure to a wide variety of microbes. Until your son's sensitivities are well understood, and his immune system is strengthened, there may be some that he will react to. I happen to have increased allergic symptoms during the worst pollen and mold (fungal spore) seasons. Obviously wash hands well after coming inside, maybe even change clothes and at least wash your hair, and protect him from exposure to these allergens. I have an app I use as a guide called Weatherbug which displays allergen levels in the area.

Personally, IN ADDITION TO MY OWN HOME MADE COMPOST, I like using well composted organic bagged soil and soil amendments -- the ones I have been using are Bumpercrop garden soil amendment and their potting mix Gardener's Gold, Espoma products, and Dr. Earth products. But if you live on the West Coast or In the Mid West, there are a couple more brands that seem to be also highly recommended but I'm not familiar with.

BTW peat moss and vermiculite and perlite are products I no longer use (though some of those organic potting mix still contain peat moss) because they are usually sold dry as dust and the dust particles from any of the three have cause severe problems for me when inhaled. Good organic potting mix and soil amendments containing compost are bagged and kept in a wrung dry moist state because the microbes will die off if completely dried. And good gardening supply distributors will keep these bags in protected areas out of sun and rain. Don't buy waterlogged bags,

I don't know if that answered your question. I hope so.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11261
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Health issues, can't find truly organic garden soil

If the label has the OMRI seal on it then it should be o.k. As apple said, when plants are composted, the soil microbes break things down into their basic components and should not be a problem. They are even using bio remediation to clean up contaminated soils.

When working with anything you don't want to breathe in, like perlite, (it is acceptable as organic, but it is also a carcinogen), or anything that makes dust, or smoke, you should use a good respirator. I am not talking about a dust mask. With a good pesticide respirator filter, you won't even be able to smell the pesticide. Not that you would be using any, it is just to make a point about getting a quality respirator.

I am sorry about your son, and I am aware of how anxious you may be and want to do the best to protect him. You just have to become a good label reader, and do the best you can.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ChickenFreak
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:59 am
Location: Southern Oregon/Pacific Northwest (USDA zone 8a, Sunset zone 7.)

Re: Health issues, can't find truly organic garden soil

You say that you've tried all the nurseries. You might also want to try organic landscapers.

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”