Soil Problems

Community Garden Contamination question

Anonymous added on June 19, 2015 | Answered

My community is looking to open a community garden. The proposed garden is about 110 feet from the local dog park. Both are fenced and there is really no chance a dog could enter the garden area. Nonetheless, a question arose as to whether or not dog feces about 110 feet from the garden could endanger the garden. A resident claimed something to the extent that dog feces over 100 feet away could travel through the soil and contaminate the garden.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 20, 2015

At that distance, there is really no threat to your garden and it will not travel through the soil. About 95% of the time, manure from animals, like dogs, will not cause harm - but you shouldn't use it in the garden because of that other 5%. In areas where animals have been known to "go potty," it normally takes about a year for any pathogens that might have been in their manure to die off, so I would say planting in this area is completely safe, just make sure that none of the dogs will be visiting the garden.

If it helps as far as alleviating the concerns of others, you could always construct your garden using raised beds. This is a great way to handle any uncertainties about the soil and is beneficial for the plants (and people who may have issues with bending).

If you would like to go this route, these articles will help:

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