Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chemical Considerations for the Stealth Gardener

As edible landscaping becomes more popular, we are seeing more folks planting vegetables among their shrubs and perennials, which is wonderful. As spring fever and planting season for traditional summer crops are about to collide, as they always do this time of year, I wanted to remind everyone of a few cautions.

Remember, the Health Dept. has a mosquito spraying program that starts in May or June. Be prepared to cover your vegetables and certainly remember to wash them before serving. During mosquito spraying season we grow only 'fruiting' vegetables (squash, beans, peppers) in the front yard and wash them well. If we had children eating them, we probably wouldn't even do that. We do not grow leafy vegetables or harvest herbs in the front yard during the mosquito spray season.

Call 256 883 5872 for the County Health Department Vector Control office. The gentleman in charge is very helpful and will call you in advance of any spraying his department is about to do in your neighborhood. This gives you time to cover plants or harvest before the trucks roll through. There may be a procedure in place to be removed from the spray program.

Be Careful!

Avoid mixing vegetable crops with shrubbery or in a lawn area that is being treated with pesticides. Many tree and shrub insecticides and fungicides are not labeled for use in the garden. If you do use pesticides on your property always read and follow all label instructions and keep records of your treatments. The record can be a learning tool and can help minimize the need for future treatments.

In many situations a spray free zone of 25' or more to protect your food bearing plants may be appropriate.
No kids, no dogs and NO FOOD!

Herbicides and their residues can harm your crop in many cases, however it is possible for many vegetable plants like tomatoes to survive but traces of the material can find it's way into your produce. Grass clippings from chemically treated lawns are not helpful in the long run. Try to avoid using leaves and other materials from properties that have spray programs.

Never Use a sprayer that has had herbicide in it on your vegetables, flowers or trees and shrubs. To solve the problem use a permanent marker to Label your sprayers by type of use.

1 comment:

  1. great advice! I hadn't thought about the mosquito truck. When I hear it in the neighborhood, I always go inside.