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Planting a vegetable garden
Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:18 pm
I hope I am posting this question in the correct forum. I have a great spot in my yard to start a vegetable garden but I have a concern - the area has been used by our dogs for a few years and has had quite a bit of dog waste on it over the years. We constantly clean the area but are concerned about soil quality under the grass - can we plant in this area? Would a raised garden be better? Will leaching occur if we plant a raised garden?
Thanks for any advice!
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:53 am
Unfortunately, the area where your dogs did their business, is now as toxic as a chemical spill, where a vegetable garden is concerned. There are so many pathogens and parasites that live in 90% of dog feces that are harmful to humans: E Coli, Listeria, Round worm, Tape worm, Cryptosporidium to name a nasty few. As for the worms, most of their eggs can stay viable for up to ten years, so even if the dogs haven't used the area for a while, there would still be a clear and present danger to you and your family.
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:15 pm
So what would be the trouble shooting to allow them to garden? Dig out a given depth? Raised bed with outside soil? Declare the bed's yield to be cook only, no raw allowed?
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:55 pm
That is so sad - Is it a definite, 100%, "No"... ?
Is there any way possible to work around this?
Digging 2 feet down, and an extra foot or two outside the planting area?
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:12 pm
I've read on a couple websites that said you should remove the top 3 feet of soil from the area. That sounds more like a public works project than a solution to me. The thought of having to shovel out the top 3 ft. of soil from my garden and then shovel in the 3 ft of new soil makes even this fit 6'5" 240 pounder, shudder to think.
As for a raised bed? I don't know if the above mentioned worms are travelers like common garden worms or not. It may be that a raised bed does the trick, or it may be that they just laugh at the added soil and come to the top anyway. Thankfully, I don't know from personal experience how they burrow.
My concern is, if I'm wrong about what I'm suggesting all that happens is BigDoug looks like a moron. No sweat there, I look like a moron 10 out of the 14 hours I am awake. But if not, Waverous could end up going on a Maria Callas diet that wasn't in the plans. Or worse, end up with a case of hookworm that could gross out even the most hardened third world doctor.
I hate to be a naysayer on this subject, but I say unless you are ready for a total garden soil transplant, I would definitely stay away from the "Dog Poop Graveyard" for a garden.
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:05 pm
I think one possible road to recovery/remeidation for that area is to turn it into Compost Pile area for this season. Keep sifting the pile in the area to eventually make 3-bin compost -- one finished, one cooking, one adding new material. Although I don't usually advocate this as necessary, it would probably be a good idea to inoculate with Compost Activator or Starter which will contain the beneficial (good) bacteria and fungi to compete with the baddies in the soil. With the added microbial and biological activity, predatory organisms will move in to hopefully take down the larger lifeforms.
Ah! Another idea -- please note I'm just thinking aloud. There is a commercial doggie septic tank system called Doggie Dooley. There are folks who are using them here so they may have additional input. I don't have one, I don't have dogs, but I've always planned to get the Doggie Dooley system if and when I have dogs. Anyway, my thought is to initially dig a trench along the location and sprinkle/water in the Doggie Dooley microbes -- presumably these microbes are known to work well for breaking down doggie poop. Follow up with the composting idea.
Probably use this season's compost from this location ONLY on ornamentals, not for your edibles.