I have another question. The septic system I have is a traditional anaerobic system with a trans-evaporative leach field. I am looking at ways to utilize the area. Right now the area is covered in grass. I was wondering if grazing livestock is the only and best option over the leach field and tanks? Do you have other ideas?
Hi Aaron, grazing has the drawback that the cattle with poach the soil and this may lead to premature clogging of the leachfield area as sediments wash down from surface level into the gravel. That's the theory anyway. I'm not sure how problematic it would be in practice. The guidelines in Ireland are for lawn only.
Some options include:
Willows as a biomass crop - but the roots will penetrate the pipes and block them over time so this is attractive, but not recommended if you want to keep using the leachfield for some time to come This is a great use for an old decommissioned leachfield because it utilises the nutrients and cleans up the soil.
An orchard. Apples won't be as invasive as willow roots, and you get fruit as a yield. Of course any fruit or nut trees suitable to your climatic zone would most likely be suitable.
Perennial vegetable patch or flower garden or even a forest garden.
I'm not sure if comfrey grows well in your area, but if it does then it would presumably thrive in the heat and with the irrigation and ready nutrient supply. Then you could harvest that a few times a year and use as a mulch around your other garden crops. that would avoid the possibility for bringing up much by way of toxins straight into your food (other than via the comfrey leaves anyway). Bocking 14 is a sterile cultivar that doesn't seed as weeds all over your garden.