Sewage-contaminated vegetable garden -- help --
Hi, it's been a while since I last posted. We are living in an apartment right now with no garden space, so for the last couple of years my parents have given us a share of their garden. We do have some homemade earthboxes here which we use for tomatoes and peppers.
My parents have one neighbor with a "sewage problem." In the back of their yard and in the other neighbor's yards, the earth smells of raw sewage. When I was turning soil over to plant sugar snap peas a month ago, the stench was particularly strong. I know sewage is in the garden soil, though my dad denies it. He should call public health, but he doesn't want to cause a stir. So it appears that the sewage problem won't go away before growing season. Anyway... because of this, I want to plant only vegetables which don't have contact with the soil in their garden and put the root vegetables and lettuces into our earthboxes here at the apartment. My dad always mulches very well with grass clippings, so there isn't much danger of soil splashing up onto the hanging veggies. The main issue is that my parents have always grown a ton of cucumbers as long as I can remember, and they won't stop this year. They'll be offended if we grow or buy cukes since they will have so many to give away. We have two young children and I'd rather not give them any cucumbers, but I'm wondering whether my husband and I should even eat them.
-Is there a foolproof way to wash something like cukes to kill off any sewage/bacteria? Is there a product that will do it? Would a salt/vinegar/water solution do it?
-Do you think that we'll be safe with our vegetables suspended off the ground (thinking peppers, tomatoes, snap peas, pole beans, broccoli, possibly okra)?
-Should we avoid their garden altogether?
Thanks for any advice.