Planning a raised bed in a chemically treated lawn,... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 05-25-2010, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really want to grow some vegetables this year (or next if I'm to slow), and DH has finally agreed to this. But he will not budge on having the lawn sprayed for weeds (not even the back,...). They come about every 6 weeks and either spray or spread those little white pellets, something I dont want in my food.

I can ask the man to stay 10 feet from the planned raised beds (he already does this with our swingset area) to help avoid overspray, but I really dont want the roots digging down into the earth finding all those chemicals,... I was planning to use that woven black landscape fabric as a barrier. Will this keep my vegetable plants seperate from the earth? Am I wasting my time even thinking about this?

Anyone have any tips for this type of gardening? Or any tips for this type of DH? LOL!

Thanks!
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#2 of 14 Old 05-25-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Spray dh? No, seriously, I don't know. I'm sorry. Could you do containers or a raised bed up on a table or the porch?

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#3 of 14 Old 05-25-2010, 08:17 PM
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landscape fabric won't help much - it'll keep the root system from going down further than that, but the pellets will dissolve and the resultant chemicals can get wicked up the soil into the root system anyway. plus, some plants will want deeper roots or the crop will fail.

i think the only thing you can do is make the raised bed as deep as you can, and tell the chemical guy to stay far away from the garden area.

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#4 of 14 Old 05-26-2010, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sadly, he probably wouldnt mind the spraying,.. he doesnt care about nutrition, health, chemicals, etc,... I think he's glad I do but wishes I wouldnt take it so far,...

The raised beds off the ground sound interesting, saw some pics of that yesterday.

Thanks for confirmimng what I was thinking about the water getting into feed my veggies also.

I may check into organic lawn treatment, i just dont feel good about any of the back being sprayed, the place where the beds would have to go is on a downhill slope,... hmmm. Kinda rethinking this whole thing. I do buy reg produce now when I cant find it organic or the price prohibits its purchase, do you think these lawn chemicals are worse than the pesticides, etc we're already eating?
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#5 of 14 Old 05-26-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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I would make the bed very deep (think 3 feet, rather than the usual 1 foot). That way the vast majority of your plants will be chemical free. Yes, there will be some small amount of leaching, but as long as you top water the raised bed it should be very, very slight.

That said, I think that the homegrown veggies you produce will not be organic, but will be less pesticide laden than the conventional produce at the store. After all, you will not be spraying directly on the veggies (which they do with conventional produce) and you will not be putting chemicals directly into the soil the plants are growing in. Well worth the effort! And besides, DH really should appreciate having a few less square feet of lawn to tend, right?

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#6 of 14 Old 05-26-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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I think the benefits outweigh the risks, especially when you think about the benefits of having your child(ren) experience gardening, seeing things grow, and eating their own harvest.

Not totally organic, but better than the store is how I see it.

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#7 of 14 Old 05-26-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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I agree with others. Good experience for more reasons than just produce. It could be the catalyst for big changes in your family.

Meanwhile, I would start with container veggies on a patio. Keep the lawn care guy far away. Those would be truly organic and homegrown. Choose veggies that will work for your space. Take pictures to a local nursery and ask for advice. (Box stores are hit and miss with knowledgeable employees and the plants have questionable beginnings.)

At the same time, I would begin the conversion of a more permanent garden area. Ask the lawn care guy to stay away from the proposed area and find out how far uphill would need to be chemical-free to seriously reduce the risk. (Ask a variety of sources and go with your gut.) I'd also go deeper with a raised bed.

I was in a veggie gardening class last weekend and someone had been using Miracle Gro regularly (not really understanding the implications). The advice given was to give that stuff away and switch to an organic fertilizer/feed immediately. The food was edible and no one chastised this person. The instructor stated the soil should be chemical free in a few months (if the new protocol was enacted) and would be very safe next season. We all got a lesson in how chemical fertilizers work and why you must use them so often. The bottom line is they don't last and they upset the entire ecosystem around them. There are things you can do to replenish the health of the soil in short order. This isn't exactly the same as weed killers and other lawn chemicals, but the concept may give you clues on how to proceed.

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#8 of 14 Old 05-26-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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I agree with the others - still worth doing the veggie garden, and I'd still eat the produce.

My husband is also a 'lawn guy' and we've had to work out an agreement. In our case, he spot sprays the dandelions in the lawn. I'd still rather we did nothing, he'd still rather we had a lawn guy coming out and spraying the whole lawn several times a summer - but it isn't the worst compromise around. Maybe you can work out something less intensive with him?

That said, most of us in the suburbs are dealing with some drift from neighbors' lawns, even if we don't have a lawn service ourselves. You certainly aren't alone!
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#9 of 14 Old 05-26-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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I'm a "lawn person" and also a "garden person." It is tough for me to find the right balance. We get our lawns sprayed and the first round and I did not know where the garden was going to be. I will be contacting the company though and telling them to stay away from the garden. I love a green, dandelion-free lawn, but also chemical-free veggies to eat.

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#10 of 14 Old 05-26-2010, 10:23 PM
 
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Something you could do also is to make a swell across the slope after the lawn and before the garden, to help with the runoff of the chemicals getting into the garden, also plant something there (don't know what plant) that would be a good absorber of the chemicals.
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#11 of 14 Old 05-27-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightheart View Post
Something you could do also is to make a swell across the slope after the lawn and before the garden, to help with the runoff of the chemicals getting into the garden, also plant something there (don't know what plant) that would be a good absorber of the chemicals.
What a terrific idea!
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#12 of 14 Old 05-27-2010, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all soo much! You have given me so many ideas and HOPE that I can do this! I think we may have an opportunity to work on this this weekend, I like the run off idea to keep the rainwater from going straight to the bed. I'll have to see what DH (and my HOA) has to say about the three foot bed, I dont see why it would be a problem. Goodnews is I have been promised all the compost (supposedly really great stuff according to my gardening friend) I want, so hopefully it wont cost me an arm and a leg to fill it up!

Would mixing the compost with organic soil work for this type of bed? I'm skeptical of "Mels Mix" due to some reading on vermiculite (sp). What's your favorite blend of components for your raised bed?

I do have one sungold tomato plant in a pot in the back yard (we have a screened in porch, not so great for "back deck gardening"!!) I recieved from my CSA. This week they gave me a basil plant, gotta get that on in the ground!

Thanks for helping this newbie wannabe gardener!!
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#13 of 14 Old 05-27-2010, 11:30 PM
 
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How about raised beds with legs? It might be a good alternative, if you're not growing too, too much. Or, you could do a raised bed with legs for those fruits that leach the most chemicals (the dirt dozen) and the in ground bed for the others.

Here's the raised beds with legs

http://www.instructables.com/id/Rais...n-Bed-on-legs/

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#14 of 14 Old 05-29-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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I want to rig me up some of these Earthtainers: http://www.earthtainer.org/

Might be a great solution for you, too!
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