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Planting near a leach field

 
Posts: 37
Location: Plainville, MA
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This year I am planning a wonderful native edible forest garden, Yay!
....
And then, I recently found out that the site is located on top of the finger lines for a leach field, Boo!

The lines are 3-4 feet down, and about 200 feet from the septic tank. The cottage that it is attached to is not used full-time but guests and workers do stay there for often weeks at a time. The tank gets its solids pumped out annually. In the past, annual vegetables have been grown on the same site, with no issue. The forest garden, however, will have the potential for much deeper roots than the annual veggies, and I fear it may not only damage and clog the line but also that contaminants might be absorbed by the plants and render the food dangerous. Does anyone have any experience with this? Maybe I will just stick to ornamentals and pollinator species for this area? ... Or maybe a little sewage water will just make them grow better?
 
pollinator
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At 200 feet away, soil microbes should have done their work on any poo pathogens. The one thing that anaerobic pathogens can't tolerate is oxygen, so if your forest garden has nice soil tilth and abundant soil fungi, you have little to be concerned about. However, if the line from the septic tank runs through fetid swampy areas that smell bad, that would be a cause for concern.
 
Sam Billings
Posts: 37
Location: Plainville, MA
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Thanks, John. The distance between the tank and my site is probably more like 150 feet, now that I look at it again. And that space is very lush grass and flower beds with plenty of different places for water to runoff down the hill. I will be using a lot of compost and compost tea in my installation to increase soil fungi and tilth. When fruit or greens are being produced, I think I will send them out to a lab before consumption just for safety sake.
 
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