Unintended Fertilizer - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 05-20-2011, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been meaning to post this for a while and keep forgetting.  :)  My dog used the fledgling strawberry bed as her personal toilet over the winter.  I know the rule is no dog poop in the compost pile.. should we avoid eating any strawberries that grow this year?  Or is it not a big deal?  dizzy.gif



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#2 of 6 Old 05-20-2011, 07:37 PM
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Well, definitely don't share the strawberries!  I would lean towards letting the harvest go this year.  If you kept it cleaned up, you might make strawberry jam or something else that heats it up past boiling.  The concern is parasites, especially round worm and heart worm, both can be spread from feces.  Children are especially at risk, as they are more likely to be in the dirt where animals defecate. Plus, strawberries commonly lie right on the ground.  Perhaps a good rinse would do, but I can't say if it's effective.  

     The reason the compost pile is a no-no is that to kill these parasites, the pile would have to be over 150 degrees for a sustained period.

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#3 of 6 Old 05-24-2011, 10:37 AM
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I agree, I would not eat the strawberries for fear of parasites, though you could ask your veterinarian how long you should expect these things to persist in the soil. 


One thing I have used to deter my cats from laying in my flower beds is laying broken-up rosebush stems over the soil; maybe this would encourage your dog to look for greener pastures?

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#4 of 6 Old 05-25-2011, 08:30 AM
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The strawberries haven't grown yet?  Honestly, I'd eat them.  To be careful, you could mulch with paper (or straw, or straw over paper) to eliminate direct contact between the developing berries and the soil.  Parasites aren't going to come up through the roots of the plants.  Fertilized roundworm eggs become ineffective in 3 weeks http://www.ehow.com/facts_5491608_life-cycle-roundworm.html and heartworms pass through a mosquito bite http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirofilaria_immitis  I think there are probably other zoonoses to worry about, but a mulch (and the time removed from when the dog pooped there and when the strawberries ripen) would be enough for me.

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#5 of 6 Old 05-25-2011, 07:21 PM
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Good to hear more parasite specifics.  After I posted, I honestly begin to wonder why we are told parasites are the worry for composting dogpoo, but I hear no word on home-grown chicken poo, commonly chock-full of them.  Why is the worry about dog-and-cat feces and not others?  Should chicken poo also (officially) be off-limits in the compost?  Who knows more about the predators-vs-grazers issue (and, really, any owners of chickens knows they are voraciously carnivorous, sometimes cannibalistic little dinosaurs)?  

     Maybe compost info has not kept up on the urban farm animal trend.  Gene Logsdon, by the way, has a new book just on the subject of s**t.  I need to get my hands on that one...

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#6 of 6 Old 05-26-2011, 11:33 AM
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I think chicken poo is ok (after a while) because it composts so hot parasites get killed while it ages. Properly composted (with added carbons, airflow, and high temp) I'll bet human and pet manure could make ok fertilizer too though I'd want it tested before trusting on food crops.

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