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Pond water for veggies, safe?

Posted by Thazo none (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 9, 12 at 16:38

Hello guys, this is my first post and I have a question.

Now I have been using pond water diluted with grey water to water my fruit trees last season with great results, but this season I would like to try using pond water on my veggies. Do you think it will be safe? Will there be a situation with pathogens?

I wasn't concerned with using pond water with my fruit trees because the fruit would not come into contact with the pond/grey water, but this is not the case with veggies.

So what do you think?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Would you drink pond water? Based on what I've seen in microbio I absolutely would not. Consider all the animal excrement, run off and microbes that thrive in stagnant water. If you MUST I would wash all veggies in vinegar and a hydrogen peroxide solution before eating.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 9, 12 at 17:34

Since the plants drink the water first I see it as a good source of irrigation. But I wouldn't spray and then eat fresh lettuce or other ground contact raw veggies, best to stick with cooked ground veggies and off the ground raw veggies like tomatoes, eggplant, corn and such. For ground raw veggies wash well as mentioned, as you most likely do anyways.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Excellent source of nutrients, especially nitrogen if you have fish in the ponds! And an excellent method of water conservation too.

Mindy - not only do many home gardeners commonly water with pond or lake water (and eat the fish caught in them) if they are lucky enough to have it available, not to mention well water, the vast majority of commercial agriculture is watered/irrigated with stockpiled ground water from ponds and aquafiers. :) Then there is all the composted manures that many of us add to the garden each year and the various animals that wander through for a visit. Gardens are not sterile environments in any way and never have been.

While good garden hygiene - washing your garden produce well and cooking it when required - is always recommended, you don't need to go quite so far as peroxide or vinegar to remove the surface contaminants that we all are exposed to every day.

Dave


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

When you consider what can contaminate produce, pond water, with or without "gray" water added, is far from the only thing on the list. Bird feces is one thing that is common -- don't know about others, but I have power lines right over the center of my main garden, so often have flocks of birds perched above it.

If you can use a method that keeps the irrigation water off the edible part of the plant, and you wash the produce well, I don't see why it would be an unacceptable risk.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

" Water! Fish fornicate in water!" WC Fields
I use pond water all the time in the garden and the compost all the time with no ill effects so far!
As others have said, don't splash it around all over you veges and wash them thouroughly and you should be fine.
My kitties love to drink out of the pond! Nancy


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

I'm well aware of what commercial producers use....I live in Nebraska. And I wash all my store bought produce in vinegar and hot soapy water. Intact the EPA recommends it. I also don't use composted manurea for that very reason. But I'm an environmental studies major so I'm exposed to all the "bad" news probably more than someone in nonrelated fields. I've also had a few good cases of food poisoning from purchases food so I guess my point is just because they do it doesn't mean its safe and/or that everyone should do it. And I also know from the ndeq that a lot of streams people fish out of and eat out of are highly contaminated with heavy metals, which is also a concern with manure and animal blood being dumped in the Missouri here. Anyway, I'm rambling. I wouldn't. That's my point.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Do you mean the EPA or the FDA?

Only because I read an FDA fact sheet yesterday and hoo-boy was it alarmist sounding. I don't think the FDA believes in acceptable risk where microbes are concerned, they believe in irradication. (However, killing the american public with bad medications is perfectly acceptable. Go figure.)
They do acknowledge the use of various different sources of irrigation water, including, I believe, pond water. The basic idea was that at some time before consumption, veggies should be cleaned in clean water. Of course, the FDA is trying to prevent very large lots of produce from contamination and widespread illness from ensuing.

Anyway, pond water is acceptable, but yes, rinse your veggies. You probably want to do that anyway. If it is your pond you should already know if there have been cows wallowing in it or not., along with the other various bad things mentioned. Use your judgement. Cheers!


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Excellent source of weed seeds if you don't filter it...a whole whole whole lot of weed seeds.

Also, you defiantly want to check the pH of the water and it's salt/EC content if possible. I've seen ponds turn gardens into scorched earth because of salt content.


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also...

Re: weed seeds

Of course, these seeds will be more prevalent depending on the time of year and plant activity around the pond...and if you can avoid skimming the top of the water this will cut down on the amount of seeds.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

I meant the EPA.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Well I guess I will tell you a little bit more about my pond. It is an 8 foot diameter stock-tank pond that is two feet deep.
I have about a dozen goldfish with several plants(3 lilies, 1 gotu kola, 1 papyrus, etc) in it. I also have a bio filter that creates a nice turbulence on the surface of the water during spring through fall. Several frogs live, play, and breed in this pond during the warmer seasons. And yes I am sure an occasional piece of bird feces finds its way there too.

So there is no doubt that it is swimming with all kinds of life, microbes and all.

Back to the question though. Here is the result so far:

Yes use it= 5
No don't= 2

You know I have never thought about weed seeds. I guess I could pour the pond water through a stretched cloth on its way into the pitcher.
I should also mention that the veggies are going to be grown in 2 square foot gardens. I don't know if that makes a difference other than the plants will be close together.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

From your description, it is perfectly fine. If you were watering your garden with a sprinkler with water coming from a sewage lagoon, I would only eat the food after it was cooked (assuming the yuck factor didn't prevent me from eating it at all). You would appear to be putting clean water in the tank, fortifying it with fish and frog manure, then fertigating your garden with it. You are not creating a dangerous water condition (water heavily contaminated with human or other warm blooded animal sewage and without the conditions to self-cleanse) to be concerned about.

Unless you currently live in a bubble, you should have an immune system which takes are of millions of microbes in your local environment. Not that you want to depend on it and should throw care to the wind, but watering with the pond water would not pose a risk worth worrying about as whatever normal care misses, and what makes it through the acid in your stomach, your immune system will already have seen and be fully prepared to deal with.

If you had just moved to Mexico and were doing this with stream water or pond water fed from a stream or overland drainage, then I would be very careful because contamination with human sewage is very common and you would not have been exposed to many of the bugs previously and would not have an immunity to them.

Just use the normal care that you would use regardless of the source of the water--wash all veggies in clean water before eating and you will be fine.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 11, 12 at 14:45

Happy frogs is a very good sign too for low pollution.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

My vote, Use it!


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

" Water! Fish fornicate in water!" WC Fields

So do frogs! Oh My!
Go for it! Nancy


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Not a yes or no vote but a few words of caution. Weed seeds are the least of your worries if plant pathogens like Phytopthera are present in the surface water and your irrigation is followed by the damp conditions that favor disease outbreaks. You could literally lose a crop in a week; it has happened.

The health compromise might be to avoid using it for overhead irrigation of small fruits once fruits are forming and on leafy greens that are generally consumed fresh. Good common sense tells us that we would not douse plants with contaminated water during the harvest interval.

As time passes we will likely see more laws restricting use of overhead irrigation from exposed water bodies onto food crops. I don't support such laws but if the number of cases of food born illness continue at such an alarming rate the government will ignore the bird droppings and wild animal encroachment issues and focus on human provoked contamination issues.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Since you have frogs in the pond be careful since they can carry salmonella. I was told by someone in the commercial food industry that they will destroy an entire field of spinach if even one frog is found. Im sure thats because they fear lawsuit more than losing a field of product.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Hmmm. I didn't think about salmonella.

Maybe I'll just stick to using it to water my fruit trees, and just use plain compost for my square foot gardens.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

i'm a professional grower and i use it as do any number of my cohorts in this area.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

I was told by someone in the commercial food industry that they will destroy an entire field of spinach if even one frog is found.

That has certainly not been my experience or that of any other commercial grower I know. So what is the documentation for this claim?

Arkansas accounts for 50% of the rice produced in the US and it is grown in river and pond flooded fields. We also grow corn, soybeans, sorghum, wheat, and peanuts in some of the most fertile, frog-populated, river/pond-irrigated fields in the US.

Hmmm. I didn't think about salmonella. Maybe I'll just stick to using it to water my fruit trees, and just use plain compost for my square foot gardens.

It, plus all sorts of other bacteria including e.coli and c. botulinum which are much more serious than salmonella, already exists in your garden soil naturally whether you use pond water or not. So do weed seeds. That is life in a garden.

We don't live in a lab or garden in a vacuum. Common sense needs to prevail.

Dave


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

The guy who told me this worked for a major grower on the west coast. This was during multiple salmonella scares on spinach so its possible they only did this during that time for fear of lawsuit like I said. I didnt personally see them destroying crops but I dont see any reason for the guy to lie.


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RE: Pond water for veggies, safe?

Rather than try to explain the unimaginably large number of bacteria present everywhere at all times in our lives and point out that most of us are still breathing despite that (which is some of what I got out of my microbiology class)... I'll just say that basic hygiene works. Washing with clean water physically removes a good portion of any microbes present on the surface of food. Our immune systems, if not compromised in other ways (or not yet developed, in the case of infants) take care of any small amounts that may remain. Anyway, I think there is a greater risk of illness when eating foods that have been prepared out of your sight than from eating your own produce picked fresh and washed by yourself, watered with pond water or not. But if I really want to get scared for life and limb, I get in my car and go driving with all the crazies out there who think they are in a video game. Driving on the highwy, now THAT might get me killed!


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