Former Pet Area to be vegetable garden
WE have a nice flat sunny area about 40' x 40' that has been our family dogs yard for 15 years. Due to age and medical issues he is indoors mostly and able to use the rest of our yard for his needs. I would like to turn this area into an enclosed vegetable and herb garden. What steps do i need to take to ensure the soil is safe to use for this purpose? I am a vet tech and know for sure none of the dogs that have ever occupied this area have had any intestinal parasites. Thank you for any help.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
If mine, preferring an organic program as opposed to chemical treatment, I would first do a complete and thorough drenching with a good EM product (Effective Microorganisms) EM-1 is the best.
Read up on this and notice the benefits include colonizing and neutralizing pathogens that may be present in the soil due to the dog feces.
Flush areas with lots of water that may have salts build up from urine.
This, along with following up by building soil organic matter and humus, and balancing soil minerals, will go a long way at creating soil health and beneficial soil biology that suppresses pathogens and metabolizes salts.
Soil testing and prescription mineral amendments, based on actual deficiences found, is the best way to go. Or use a complete mineralized fertilizer this this:
Then, for your 40'x 40' area (1600 sq ft) I would bring in at least 5 cubic yards, preferably 10 cu yds, a 2" layer, of good quality compost (or make my own). Rototil the compost into the soil. Include about 20 lbs of 'humate ore', 20 lbs of kelp meal, and 20 lbs of Azomite volcanic trace minerals, as general purpose amendments for trace minerals. If you use the Agricola's then you don't need this as it already has good trace minerals sources.
I like the"Grow Biointensive" system, which you can read about in the book "How to Grow More Vegetables" by John Jeavons. And there is information online.
Good luck, Don