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Soil quality and safety

Can any one help? Our lovely landlady has said we can turn our back garden over to a vegetable plot. However, she is concerned about the soil quality because the previous tenants used the garden as a dog toilet for their 3 dogs and did not clear up after them (about 9 months to a year ago now). Would this be a) be safe to grow things for consumption (parasites) and b) would the soil quality be affected, if so is there anything we could do to improve the soil or speed the process along. Many thanks x


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,006

    I don't know the scientific answer to this - hopefully someone will come along who does.

    However, if they don't, my instinct is to cultivate the soil to a good spade's depth, leaving it for a couple of weeks for the weather and fresh air to work on it and  birds to have a good scratch about.  

    If the soil doesn't appear or smell unpleasant after that then I'd dig in a good layer of well rotted farm yard manure and get on with gardening.  However I think in the first year I'd not grow salad or root crops - I'd concentrate on beans, peas and brassicas.

    If your're not happy with the soil then instead of planting veg for the first season, I think I'd sow a green manure that you dig into the soil later in the season - then when that's been done you could plant some winter cropping brassica plants bought from the GC and sow some winter-hardy broad beans to crop in the following spring.

    Then next spring I'd stop worrying and get on and enjoy your veg patch. 


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Em5Em5 Posts: 3

    Thanks so much for your response. Good advice re: root veg, We will get cracking today.


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,167

    Dove, that sounds so sensible and I bet a lot of people will have had that problem. The only thing I would add is to wear rubber gloves when cultivating the soil for the first year or so at least and to always wash your hands well after gardening; this applies especially to pregnant women.image

  • As ever good advice from Dove. The parasites and pathogens in dog poop are not burrowing or able to move in soil  inside vegetables so the contamination is surface splashes Or from getting into the water features. (Toxicara eggs last years!)

    Raised beds with  fresh compost is the way forward and always wash fruit, vegetables and your hands thoroughly. Pigeon poop, fox spraints, cat and hedgehog poop and even owl pellets are often found in my garden - but my dog has a sand box behind the garage.

    never compost carnivore faeces is the golden rule.

  • Em5Em5 Posts: 3

    Thanks everyone x


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