at one time I had a greenhouse over my tank but since have moved it..
one thing I find very very very very very helpful is to THINK about what is down there..first of all put something over each of the tank holes..mine has a fabric over it to keep out sand but then has a thin layer of soil and then one of the tank covers (i have 2) has a bird bath sitting right on top of the hole cover..to mark it..the other has a wooden boardwalk over it..can be easily lifted and removed..steppers would also work, making sure you know what steppers are over the tank..or make a map.
then you can plant around the area..your best bet is a mediterranian style herb garden on the flat..no spiral..as the soil will be thin, dry and hot on the tank itself..I have sage, thyme, violets, sedum, creeping thyme, parsley, lamiums, etc ON the tank itself ..around the birdbath..then in the areas right next to the tank on the sides the soil is very deep and loose and is a good spot for something with a deep root, I have swiss chard, hollyhocks, and other deep rooted plants in those areas..around them I have some other salad greens and some ornamentals like daylillies and siberian iris, in areas that are a little farther away from the tank itself..
the tank here is in the middle of a garden bed..my beds are all mixed between food and ornamental crops and as you get away from the top of the tank and drainfield I even have incorporated things like fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs..I have some dwarf cherry trees behind my house away from the tank, and have lots of honeysuckle, lilac, spirea, barberry, etc.. on the downslopes of backfill as our drainfield is raised 4' above level as is our house all backfilled with very high quality soil..
you can see our drainfield garden in our blog
herbs are very good over the septic as they can do well on thin soil and shallow soil with dry and heat..that you usually have there..if there is some shade, which we have on ours then you can even use other ground covers like violets..
there is no drainage "around" the septic tank itself..so there is no danger of bad stuff unless there was a spill..just that the soil will be thin on top..unless you have it buried quite deep..
if you make arrangements (like putting a bird bath or large stepper stone) over the lids..then you can plant anything that will use the proper soil depth that is there.
you can view the drainfield gardens in photos on my blog (see signature) the drainfield is on the north ..behind..part of our house and has become a beautiful garden..but I do keep the top free of plantings other than the lawn, for evaporation so the drainfield works properly
My drain field will be loaded with dynamic accumulators (comfrey, vetch, etc.) These plants can be composted to provide high nitrogen to my gardens. I want to make use of the waste in my septic system, but I want it to pass through Mother Nature's kitchen one time before I do.
michael conway....I was looking for comments on whether the septic tank would pose health problems, Thanks[/quote wrote:
From what I have read on the subject, the consensus seems to be "maybe"
There is obviously the potential for disease causing pathogens, but one of the purposes of the septic tank / leach field is to break down waste materials into its
If the system is working correctly, then maybe there would never be any problem.
That uncertainly is one good reason not to risk planting edibles over the septic system, definitely not root crops (taters, carrots,etc.)
Not to mention gardening over the septic system could increase chances of damage to pipes or other parts from digging.
having said all that, I personally am growing kiwi vines over my leach field.
Eating nut/vegetable grown over your drain-field may not be ok due to the fact that they might be high in "bad" mineral/metal.
Eating vegetables grown over the drain-field is never a good idea due to the risk of do-do water on roots and do-do water splashes went it rain.
And the fact that the soil/water has bacteria/pharmaceuticals/heavy concentration of metals.
Planting nut/fruit trees next to the septic tank is not really a good idea. The roots can grow over 3 times the height of the tree.
So it might damage pipes and or the actual concrete over time. The drain-field is usually located near the tank and the roots might find it.
With roots in the drain-field, you will shorten the lifespan of the drain-field and possible absorb chemicals/metal into your crop.
I would however recommend, planting vines in it and then composting/mulch with the vine leave.
You might even completely kill the vine every few years, just to make sure the roots are in check.
I have a relatively small draining area and I agree I wouldn't really want to plant anything over top of it because of the root scenario etc - but what about beside it? I guess it's one of those things that is most likely fine but there's the off chance it could not be fine.
It's just one of the more annoying parts about having a septic system and a smaller acreage because it steals a good chunk of growing space! I've eaten the wild raspberries next to the leaching bed and survived though, but for now I've just been throwing wildflower seeds there. Last year when I got the property I moved some compost into the space beside the leaching bed (which is an area where lawn meets forest) with the intention of growing stuff there and I got tons of volunteer edibles (huge pumpkins, squash, tomatoes etc) but I held off from eating because I just wasn't sure...It was a really productive space so it's kind of a shame.
Has anyone grown edibles NEAR or along side their leaching beds and not had bad experiences?
If you use oyster mushroom spawn in your gardens or over the leech field, they will take care of most all pathogens, if any escape the system un-changed.