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wanting to plant 10 feet south of carport, concerned about vehicle exhaust  RSS feed

 
Kerry Dyer
Posts: 2
Location: Olympia, WA
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wondering if anyone has suggestions, experience, etc. for this situation. Online and in some books home car exhaust is not discussed much and a few authors have said there is very little research on it other than if area is heavily polluted to grow root veges and also take off outer layers of other produce and wash well. We are in a small city - Olympia, WA with usually great air quality and I am in the process of setting up an area for growing organic veges in a sheet mulch but it is about 10 feet south of our carport with only our cars using the carport. Wind usually blows from south or southwest as far as I have read.... considering cold frame, but not sure if it is really necessary to protect the food. A short 2 foot wide hedgerow with grasses, herbs/rosemary/flowers are bordering the south border of the carport prior to the garden area....

thanks!
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Unless I were running engines there for long periods I wouldn't worry about exhaust. I would be more concerned about runoff if the cars were poorly maintained and leaked fluids and fuel.

Think of the people who garden in cities with poor air quality!
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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When I lived in town I had a couple of beds placed at the end of the driveway. The way I parked, the front bumper would be over the carrots.
The issue here is what limits of exposure you can accept. If you want minimum exposure, park the cars or move the plants elsewhere. If the minute or so each day when you start up and get back is something you can handle, you have it made.
Looking around at roads, there's a great deal of plant life living on curbs and medians, even around heavy traffic. This might offer some peace of mind.
If the breeze is steady or frequent, that will help to disperse the fumes, reducing the exposure to the plants.
Is a barrier a practical solution for your situation? You have shrubbery already, a panel or stockade fence can add a barrier between the plants and the vehicles, adds a bit of privacy.
A simple means of mitigation would be to park the vehicles such that the mufflers point away from the garden.

The next issue is what is in the exhaust that would cause concern? They took the lead out of the gas back in the 70s, no worries there. If you are putting out smoke or burning oil, being diligent with auto maintenance is in order. I don't live in WA and am not familiar with fuel additives up there. When there is snow on the ground, is the area near the driveway getting dark from something in the exhaust?

Spark-ignition engine exhaust, according to wikipedia shows
N2 71%
CO2 14%
H2O 12%
CO 1-2%
the remaining 1-2% in trace elements

Carbon monoxide (CO) metabolises in plants into CO2 or methane.
 
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