kylie77
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How to protect my garden from bug spraying

So I've just found out that on monday my area will be sprayed. This is a strata thing, so I have no control over it. I have to go on the assumption that my yard etc... will be sprayed as well. I have 3 gardens, and lots and lots of containers all around that I will need to protect. I don't know what chemical is being used, I'm trying to find out. I may or may not be given this information. So, I'm assuming it's harmful to my garden since I don't know otherwise. I have lots of black garbage bags available to me, and can put those over everything. Will this be good enough? Also how long can they safely be left over my plants? I don't want things to cook under them, but have no idea how long the spraying will take, who knows where they will start first. How long after the spraying is done do I need to keep the plants covered for?

All the information I've been given is that this is 'safe'. Apparently the company that does it doesn't use a masks or anything because it's not harmful to breath in whatever they are using. I don't know what they're spraying for either. I'm trying to find out what I can, but it might be after the spraying has started that I get any information if I do get any. GRRRRR the joys of townhouse living!! lol

kylie77
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I've just called the company doing the spraying to see if I could get some information directly from them. There was no one there, so I left a message. I have a feeling it's unlikely I'll find anything out before monday, and will have to cover things tomorrow night, or early monday morning just to be safe. I have no idea what time it's going to start either. It's supposed to be the first of possibly 3 sprayings happening. I would've liked a little more notice :(.

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hendi_alex
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To me, this spraying for everything culture is pretty strange. Our progressive farming institution in S.C. is the cooperative extension service run through Clemson University. They buy into the [all of these chemicals are safe] line and promote it to all communities throughout the state. Is quite sad IMO, that the supposedly most progressive institution related to farming, gives no emphasis to the kinds of ideas expressed by Helful Gardener and so many others on this forum. No emphasis at all given to concepts such as sustainable agriculture, encouraging practices that fit with nature rather than those which fight against her, no frank discussion about the adverse effects of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. After all, they are totally safe and a wonderful benefit to mankind.

Wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but none here, other than try to pick a place to live outside of the perfectly groomed neighborhoods, perhaps a plot of land with a good bit of space and which includes a decent buffer of trees between you and those who might use all of chemicals that many of us wish to avoid.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

kylie77
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I would love to live somewhere with more space, and have more control over these things. This is such a huge step up from where we were in a horrible appartment a year and a half ago, I still feel lucky where I am. For now moving isn't at all an option for us, so I have to make do with what I have. I didn't know when we bought this place that I was going to end up growing veg! It had never crossed my mind! If it had it would've changed my opinion on where to live. There are lots of good points to living where we do, this is just one of the unfortunate things I have to deal with.

So, no advice on how to keep this spray off of my plants??

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hendi_alex
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Nothing is going to be very effective against broadcast of chemicals that are being sprayed everywhere. Something like Reemay floating cloth/covers could reduce the amount of pesticide that directly contacts your plants. Also there is a very lightweight bubble wrap type of garden protector that would float over your plants and keep the spray from directly touching them. My comment of [no words of wisdom] really refers to the fact that when the poison is broadcast over the full neighborhood, there is no way avoid it or the broken down byproducts. I guess the name of the game is to minimize any contact with such, so perhaps investigate the possible use of Reemay or other floating products that are light enough to drape over most of the garden plants. The biggest potential problem that I see with the bubble product is if it were to rain. Large puddles would form in some areas and would crush the plant underneath. The reemay fabric has a somewhat loose weave. In my mind it would definitely limit the pesticide filtering through and at the same time could not cause any harm to your plants.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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!potatoes!
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it may be a big pain, but containers could be brought inside during the application time.

kylie77
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hendi-alex

I figured no matter what I do there's not much chance of my garden not getting any of the chemicals. It'll be everywhere, and will seep into the ground. I'm not happy about it, but there's nothing I can do. So annoying since I wouldn't spray my own plants with chemicals.

This reemay stuff you mentioned... if it has a loose weave and water can seep through preventing puddles, wouldn't this mean that a lot of chemical would be able to get through as well?

kylie77
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potatoes

Yes I plan to bring as many containers inside as I can. It will be a HUGE pain but at least I can keep the chemicals away from them that way.

kylie77
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Anyone else have any suggestions?

cynthia_h
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Well, I didn't want to jump in since I have no advice re. the plants, but...

I'm astounded that the grounds are being sprayed

1) with unidentified chemicals,
2) with such short notice to OWNERS, *and*
3) where children, esp. young children, probably play on a regular basis, to say nothing of people toileting their dogs, playing with dogs, and so on.:shock: :x :shock:

It might be worthwhile to closely read your purchasing contract to see how much authority this governing body is actually ceded versus how much they have arrogated to themselves.

And I know you're very busy with work, small children, and everything, but perhaps you and a neighbor or two can rotate attending the strata meetings?

I don't know how the law works in B.C., but in California owners/stakeholders must be permitted to attend meetings of relevant governing bodies. (I actually know someone who is a member of the HomeOwners Association Committee for a very large condomium complex near here, and she gripes about "People watching us" all the time. Well, if that's how she feels about it, those "people" probably have a very good reason to be "watching" ....)

Observers may or may not be permitted to speak at these meetings, but they have the right of attendance and observation. *That,* at least, would give you and the others a bigger lead time for such unpleasant surprises. Time to...oh, I don't know... get a doctor's certificate that toxic exposure is risky / dangerous for young children. Or that it can trigger asthmatic episodes in persons with underlying asthma or chronic bronchitis. Or that contact dermatitis (reactions similar to poison oak/ivy) can occur in their patient up to X days after spraying. Etc.

These, by the way, are real, true, health questions, and I wonder what kind of advice this governing body has received which gives them the authority to put residents and children at such risk.

Very strange. And very alarming.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

kylie77
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Thanks Cynthina. I know it's horrible that they think it's ok to spray with who knows what without consulting the residients. I had a long chat with the manager of the complex this morning about it all. This is not her doing, so I'm not upset with her in the least. She knows I have a garden planted and was nice enough to email me about the spraying before the official notice went out to everyone else. She's been trying to get more information, but with no luck. Apparently the complany she works for seemed annoyed that she wanted to know what was being sprayed.

We do have an anual strata meeting that I do attend. We had the last one about 6 weeks ago, and this was not mentioned at all. Apparently it's just somthing they do, and they've never thought to ask what everyone thinks about it all. The manager here is planning to bring it up at the next counsil meeting. I'm not currently on the strata counsil only because I have 3 children under 4 and don't have babysitters. Their dad works afternoon/evenings, and this is when the meetings are held. I may have to figure it out though because I would definately like to have more of a say in these issues. We haven't been here for long so I didn't know these sorts of things would come up.

The manager here is happy for me to rope off my property though and put up a sign saying that nothing is to be sprayed on my property. That's the best I can do though. I know it will still likely blow over to my yard, and that it won't solve the problem, but I'm hoping it will help a bit. I will be bringing all of my containers inside, and covering the gardens with plastic. It's going to be a big job to do all of this, I have about 25 containers around my house. I'm worried about leaving the plastic on too long and baking my plants outside. The manager has no idea what time they will be starting or how long it will take. She doesn't know if they're spraying everywhere or just in certain areas, or what they're spraying for. We have some bushes in the area that are completely covered in webs, and are dying. She 'thinks' this is what they're spraying for. So, I'll be back on the phone in the morning trying to get a hold of the company to at least get some information on it all.

I used to work from home helping people get rid of toxic chemicals in their homes and making their homes safer. I'm fully aware of the danger of chemicals and have gone to a lot of trouble to try to keep them out of my home as much as possible. It does make me angry that my family is now being exposed like this and I don't even know what to. A big reason for me wanting to grow my own food was so I would know what was on it and know it was safe for my family. Even if my own yard isn't sprayed but everywhere else is, I can't imagine my soil would show no signs. Not to mention if this has been done every year than my soil must be full of chemicals :( :( :(.

cynthia_h
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kylie77 wrote:I used to work from home helping people get rid of toxic chemicals in their homes and making their homes safer. I'm fully aware of the danger of chemicals and have gone to a lot of trouble to try to keep them out of my home as much as possible. It does make me angry that my family is now being exposed like this and I don't even know what to. A big reason for me wanting to grow my own food was so I would know what was on it and know it was safe for my family. Even if my own yard isn't sprayed but everywhere else is, I can't imagine my soil would show no signs. Not to mention if this has been done every year than my soil must be full of chemicals :( :( :(.
Yes, it *is* difficult. I discovered way back in college that volatile organic compounds, used in MOST cleaners, air "fresheners," aerosol products, and traditional gardening products, not only triggered migraines for me, but they also triggered a weird reaction that I've termed "respiratory arrest": I can't breathe in or out until I leave the immediate vicinity of the chemical. You can imagine how "fun" :x it is to have to do that and not be able to utter a word of explanation until you return to the "scene of the crime."

I would do my best to write a strongly worded letter to both the strata and the spraying company, copy it to a lawyer (solicitor) if you know one or have a friend who practices, and state that you will pursue a "cease and desist" order until a reason can be shown for such exposures of unsuspecting people to toxic chemicals.

I don't know if it can stop tomorrow's mass exposure, but it should stop future ones.

And I'm glad to learn that the complex manager understands the problems, too. Why she's being kept in the dark is not understandable, though... :?:

Cynthia

kylie77
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That's a good idea. From speaking to the manager it doesn't sound like anything can be done to stop it for tomorrow, but I'll certainly be looking into getting it stopped in the future. This is supposed to be one of 3 possible sprays for this year. I hope I can get the others stopped at least.

The manager here seems to understand but she can't really. She's done the job for 15 +years. If she really saw it all as a problem then I'm sure she could've had it stopped long before now. She even told me stories about others that lived here in the past who had problems with the chemicals used. One was a little boy who'd had a liver transplant and chemicals were extreemly dangerous for him. Shocking isn't it? Maybe she just sees it as something that isn't her problem? I really don't know. She's head of the strata counsil here and manager, is in touch will the company in charge of this area. I don't understand how they all thought it was ok not to at least inform us all. I think it's an issue that should be voted on by the property owners here at the anual meeting. It's interesting how they decide what we should and should't have a say on.

I'm no longer working the business I was but the things I learned were quite shocking. I had NO idea cleaners and other household products were SOOOOOOOOOOO incredibly dangerous. Now I know I could never go back to just buying stuff at the grocery store. I learned that after chemical warfare the chemists were approached and asked to figure out what all the left over chemicals could be used for. A lot of that crap is now in products most people use daily. Women that work in the home are %50+ more likely to get cancer than those working outside the home. Can't remember the exact %, I think %56. Inside our homes are 3 times higher in pollutants than outside. Oh and then there's all the medical conditions that often are misdiagnosed when really it's a chemical sensitivity. I always assumed that it was safe to buy things like lysol. Now.... I know MUCH better!

kylie77
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Spraying is done at least for now. I still don't know what they were spraying for or what was used. But, I was quite happy this morning because the company doing the spraying called me first thing. They wanted to know what unit number I was in so they could be sure not to spray anywhere near my garden. They did stay a good distance away, and I had my gardens covered as well. So, I'm feeling quite positive that my plants won't be too badly affected. Glad it's done. I was up at midnight covering plants up! lol Then paranoid about them baking under the plastic today until the spraying had been done. From the sounds of it the counsil have realized it's a problem and will be doing something about it.

cynthia_h
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I'm glad that the company showed *some* courtesy to you. And I fervently hope this is the very last time you have to deal with this toxic exposure--or anyone in your housing development, for that matter.

Cynthia

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applestar
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Hi kylie77 - I've been "listening in" with my fingers crossed for you. Checked in today and was really glad to see that the spraying company did pay attention to your concerns and you were able to avert the worst of it.

It sounds like YOU got their attention. Now perhaps more awareness and consciousness will be raised and things like this can be prevented in the future. Good for you! :clap:

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hendi_alex
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Since it sounded to me like the spraying decision was a done deal, didn't think of the proactive activist strategy. Am glad that worked to some degree. Old saying, ounce of prevention vs. pound of cure comes to mind. Am happy for you and your outcome. Maybe your concern will generate some dialog on this issue. Perhaps at some point fear of law suit related to health issues may give the grounds managers a further reason to reconsider their decision to spray so aggressively.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

kylie77
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Thanks guys. It definately sounds like this has at least got people thinking that's for sure. A woman on the cousil lives RIGHT behind me. She saw my efforts to keep chemicals away from my plants and said 'good for you for saving your plants'. She had thought that they were only spraying the trees here, and was surprised to see the company spraying everywhere. She's not at all happy either with chemicals being used. Between her and the manager I feel confident this won't be taken lightly in the future. I also saw a bunch of people running up to the sprayers and saying 'don't spray my yard'. So I KNOW I'm not the only one bothered by it all.

I'm not at all upset with the company who did it because they were booked to do a job, and did it. I was quite happy with them for calling first thing and wanting to know where I lived so they could avoid my garden. At VERY least everyone here should be able to at least be able to control what is or isn't sprayed around their own property. We do have pests like the pine beetle here etc... maybe that's what the spray was for? I still don't know. That's the worst of it, not knowing anything about it. I had to assume this spray was very dangerous and was meant to kill everything since I didn't have any info. At least I know I did what I could to keep my plants safe. People probably thought I was overreacting when they saw how much effort I went into protecting my food! But, I'm not about to eat some unknown chemical. Isn't that what we get from the grocery store? I at least want to know my own garden is free from that crap.

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Drumopelli
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Prolly too late a response (I'm new). Were they spraying for weeds or for pests?

Spraying for pests is bad... or not. Spraying for weeds (like a ground clear kill everything type) would anger me greatly.

I assume you live in a place where "spraying" is considered a benefit or a service. If I lived in a place like that, I wouldn't allow it. Even as a tenant, you still have rights... rights to forego the "service". I would have supervised the spraying and told the workers where they could and could not spray.

However, if you are a renter, it isn't your land and you don't really have much say (you can request however). You would think that most places would honor your requests.

Just sayin', if it was me, I'd have raised bloody he**. I would also think that as a tenant, any chemicals or used would have to be fully disclosed to the tenants as a matter of law.
My short term memory isn't what it used to be. Also, my short term memory isn't what it used to be.

kylie77
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They were spraying for pests. Some pests I don't want around, but I would've liked to be much much more informed as to what they were using, and what pests they were spraying for, also more notice.

I livei in a townhouse, and I do own it. We have a 'strata' though so certain things we have to obey. We have to keep our outside areas clean and to a certain standard. If we don't we get a fine. They take care of things like mowing the grass and the grounds etc... So in that way I guess they make those sorts of decisions. I can't control what they spray or where they spray it around my house. I did control if they came on my property. Since the properties are joined though I was very concerned about the amount of spray that would drift over to my place. That's why I covered everything. I only knew they spraying was happening a day and a half before it did. I wouldn't have even known that early except our manager was kind and knew about my gardens and told me as soon as she was told. I called the company (only knew who was doing it because the manager told me that as well, but it wasen't common knowledge), I wanted more information but couldn't reach anyone. They were good though and called me at 7:30am the day they were spraying to ask what unit number I was in. They said they wanted to make sure they didn't spray anywhere near my gardens. To their credit they did stay a fair distance from my property. Didn't even come down our row in the front or back. So I can't fault the company that did it because they were asked to do a job and they did it. It's the company that runs our townhouse complex I have a problem with. They shouldn't be making these decisions for us. I am pretty certain there are only a few people here who have any edible gardens at all. All I've ever seen are a few tomato plants here and there, and one rhubarb plant. I think I'm the only one growing as much as I am. We have a very small amount of space to work with, so I wouldn't think most people would think about growing vegetables.

The problem isn't over yet though. I heard from another person living in the area that apparently the company doing the spraying sprayed for the wrong thing, and needs to redo it. I have to verify this with the manager. My plan of action is to find out if it's true, and then get all the information from the company doing the spraying. I will then make up a flyer to put in everyone's mailboxes telling them what I know about the chemicals used, the dangers etc... so people are informed.

I can't say that the spraying wasen't needed. I've seen that we have some bushes completely covered in webs, and these webs seem to be killing the bushes. So maybe it was something that was nessisary. My problem is not having the information, and not being given a choice.

The manager told people that the spray was completely 'safe' and 'non-toxic'. I don't believe that for a second though. Especially when I saw the people doing the spraying. They were wearing full protective clothing, and masks. If it was THAT safe then whey would this be needed?

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Drumopelli
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Well at least they were spraying for pests. Good, yet good, yet not good, but shouldn't have too much impact on your plants. I would have hosed the chemicals off the plants right after they sprayed (Dilution).

Sounds like an HOA (vomits). It's your property but some association has various rules which you must abide by because you signed a piece of paper (Grrrr!).

When I originally responded, I thought it may have been weed control (and that would have irked me). My point is: Chemical sprays for bugs, though less than cordial to plants, is far from spraying Ortho ground clear on your plants for weed control (which would have killed them completely and outright).

You have a right to be concerned about spraying. What if they do implement a weed control spraying in the future... without your notice?

In terms of your plants... they'll prolly be OK (wash before eating though less you grow ten heads and start speaking strangely). However, the good insects were decimated in the process as well (Grrrr... foaming at mouth... kicked my dog).

The "spraying" company at least seems to be divulging everything. This is prolly cuz they have to by law if and when asked. But yeah, I'd write a nasty or firm letter to the property managers about disclosure and your rights.

Good luck. Have fun.
My short term memory isn't what it used to be. Also, my short term memory isn't what it used to be.

urban farmer
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I just found this topic today and couldn't resist.

It sounds like to me that they are spraying because that is what they have always done. That in itself drives me crazy since most of us know that synthetics are not good for much of anything. Maybe your efforts will convince them to change from the old habits.

I hope you can find out what the chemicals are that were being used and possibly what the "target pests" are/were. And then maybe you can begin to educate those in charge that there are alternatives to what I would imagine are synthetic sprays. If they were "safe" like they said then I would think that they would be promoting that not trying to keep from everyone what the sprays are.

Or maybe convince them to not do anything. No spraying, fogging, etc. and let nature take back over and do what it does. It will take some time, and sure there may be some plant loss or damage, but the affected plants probably need to be replaced anyway if it is that bad.

Or perhaps the introduction (re-introduction rather) or beneficial insects could eliminate problem pests quite quickly and could/should solve the problems.

Unfortunately, you will first have to educate them, and second convince them to give it a try. Perhaps if you can rally enough support from other residents you can make it happen. I am sure you are not the only one with those concerns, but you are the only one that was willing to take action.

Good luck!

Matt

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