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Gardening next to a large farm

Posted by Pdog123 Texas (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 10:29

Hello all! First time poster here. I just recently purchased 2 acres here in Texas and have cleared a 4400sqft area for my garden. We will be using all non Monsanto organic and heirloom seeds. Going to do raised beds (44 of them) and use a Ruth Stout/Garden of Eden/Hugelkulter hybrid version of gardening. My issue is that our property is right next to a 120+ acre farm. I don't know what methods they are using but it is a monocrop situation so my guess is conventional. Am I looking at total crop failure here? Should I just do greenhouses, and if so, will they prevent cross pollination and/or round up misting? We really want to make this land work. We can't afford a privacy fence (like that would even help) so we are going with 4' field fence. Our property is south of the large farm and the wind tends to blow from the south so we will be down wind on most windy days. That may help a bit but our property lines touch. Anyone out there making a go of a similar situation? Any advice from anyone is greatly appreciated. Thank You!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

I have a similar situation and have a field on the west and north side. Herbicide spraying is the only thing to be concerned about for the most part. Occasionlly I have had a few grains pollinated from field corn on a certain planting of sweet corn.

I let tall brome grass grow in the fence row and have and encourage wild grape vines on the fence and have a bushy hedge on the southwest part.

It helps to acquaint yourself with the farmers and express your concern about herbicide drift and/or revoliatization. The farmer is legally responsible to not harm your crop from sprays.

For garden growers of commercial crops, you can get registered and get a sign that notifies your area as protected. I think that may be a national program.

This post was edited by wayne_5 on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 11:11


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

Just do as best as you could do. If you do your absolute best, then you shouldnt have anything to worry about, you have done all you could do... IF I WAS IN YOUR SHOES, i would worry about sprays much more than cross pollination.", but still.. That field fence sounds better than nothing.. You could always have a living fence, grow plants up that field fence.. Anything to block your plant from getting soaked by the synthetic chemicals when they spray right next to your plot. Dr. ingham, soil scienctist for the USDA, says compost tea can be spayed on the plants, and the billions of microorganisms in the tea cover and protect your plant leaves, engulfing and safely eliminating/diluting the spray, pollution, whatever..


Have a friendly talk with your neighbor, he might be like minded, he might understand..try and feel him out before bringing up the pesticides and sprays. If he seems understanding, bring up your concern with the sprays. If he's smirking at you, not giving a hell what your saying, i dont know if i would mention anything.. You dont want to piss of your neighbor. You definentely dont want him playing games with you, spraying right on his property border, it sounds sick, but some people get a kick out of those kind of things... Ten to one, he will be understandable, unless you get one of those dont give a hell rednecks.. But, i bet if you talk with your neighbor nicely, it will do more good than hiding from your neighbors sprays without even knowing what they are spraying. Best of luck


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

Wayne, thank you for your reply. I plan on speaking with the farmer asap. They are just planting seeds now. I Have no windrow in-between my land and the farm so I need to get something planted soon. We are on city water so no ground water contamination, Thank the Lord! There are a number of houses in the area and some people have lived there 20+ years and no one has complained about the farm to me. Hoping for the best.

Natures Nature, thank you for your reply also. I am waiting to hear from a local couple that grow different varieties of bamboo. If I can plant a clumping variety, I may be able to drastically reduce the amount of spray that would drift.

This post was edited by Pdog123 on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 11:43


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

You have no idea what they are growing, or what their farming practices are ... yet you are already making worst-case assumptions and asking for advice from people who have even less of a clue than you do?

Stop guessing. Go ask them what they grow. For all you know, they are producing organic corn for organic chickens and are looking at your garden with fear and loathing.

Cross-pollination? Unless you and they are growing the same things, it's not an issue. Their corn can't cross pollinate with your tomatoes. And if they are growing tomatoes that happen to pollinate your tomatoes .. that's what "OP" is: it stands for "Open Pollinated".


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

Lazygardens,

I get that. I do know about cross species pollination and "OP." I didn't ask about cross species pollination. I asked about cross pollination. Cross pollination is the transfer of pollen from one male plant to another female plant of the same species. It's what most plants do in nature via wind, insects, animals etc.

The big industry in my area seems to be corn. There are many many acres of corn fields withing a five mile drive of my property. Thousands, if I were to guess. There are no organic farms out my way, so I do know that from neighbors and local farmers markets. I do plan on speaking with the farmer so that is a mute point. I do plan on growing some corn and do not want any gmo crap in my garden or my families stomachs. That is one reason why I inquired about the greenhouses and if they would be a better choice. The other being herbicidal misting. I know I need a windrow but was just informed by the local bamboo grower here that it will cost a fortune to grow 350 + feet of bamboo. Ugh! I don't want the sap/yellow jacket problem from Austree Willows. I am currently looking into the Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae as an alternative.


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

Pdog123, I raise 7 plantings of sweet corn. Field corn is raised across the fence every other year. Even then I only get a few grains of cross pollination some years [on only one planting]. You can tell the crossed grains by sight and could pluck them out. I go out and shake the tassels by hand on any planting that is pollinating at the same time...get my pollinated before a wind shift or something.


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 16:42

If they are spraying the fields around you and it drifts onto your place the stuff is getting on you and your things - what might get on your garden should not be the first source of concern.

I would not live next to a conventional farm field or even in the vicinity because of the quantity of pesticides that are used and the amount of drifting that occurs. When I attended the main state university here the dust and chemical clouds from the vast wheat fields around it sometimes doused the whole campus and town. I saw herbicide damage to plants in a yard inside the town that I am sure came from the fields (the bed looked like it was being kept hand weeded and there was no turf or other surface likely to be getting sprayed right where the affected growth was), and I actually saw mud raining out of the sky - the frequent tillage that was being practiced by many operators at the time was generating dust that would mix with the fall rains when those first came.

This post was edited by bboy on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 16:46


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

There seems to be a lot of heat and no light at all here. No one knows what the farmer grows or whether it will cause any issues.

There is a concept 'Coming to the nuisance'. I think it fits here.


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

For some reason I was thinking you just had a garden plot in this location... Now that I know you are building a home and living there, that's a totally different story... Now I would worry more about yourself getting sprayed than the garden... I too, well not live next to any of that stuff. I want to be as far away from any sort of toxin or any hazard as I could, as obvious as that sounds, many people make that sad mistake...


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

I wish I wasn't so close to a commercial potato and corn farm as I am but I have had very little problems. One time they almost sprayed fungicide on my garden and I had to run, yelling to pull the arms in! Otherwise I really haven't experienced overspray and the beneficials are not put off in my space. I have thousands of bees and lady bugs. Two years ago there were horrible spotted (not native) cucumber beetles and they sprayed the field next to me with a helicopter. It was windier than it should have been so I went and told them to stop before they got close to me. The pilot said he wouldn't get into my area, and being the cucumber beetles were so bad part of me wouldn't have minded that much! But they didn't overspray after all since I had no bugs die. When they get somewhat close even on still days I get sick to my stomach. But for the most part, I may wish they weren't there, but my garden has thrived organically anyway. And I usually get them to disc the outside of my field for me too at no cost. I might have them dig my sweet potatoes this year as well. I have made sure they know to keep the chemicals away but I don't want to not burn any bridges because I can use them for things.

The biggest problem I have is that the deer don't eat in their fields and prefer my crops. They won't eat the GMO corn or soy if they possibly can skip it. They do eat my soy and corn.


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

I should also mention when it comes to corn I have had cross pollination with my corn be theirs field or sweet sh2 and mine was sweet SE. I tried to find sh2 to plant but could not unless it was GMO. Then I planted my last bed way later than theirs but mine came way earlier than the estimated DTM and so I had some tough stuff in the first flush. So the next year I was more careful. Personally I find it easier to plant an early maturing sweet corn and get a few beds in real early because they don't plant early and they do usually 83 day corn. I don't know if they will have corn or soy next to me this year. If corn I will talk with them about the DTM or actually days to pollination and their planting date. If they plant soy I will skip saving edamame seed this year.


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

There is a ton of non-GMO hybrid sh2 out there...many dozens of varieties.


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

"I want to be as far away from any sort of toxin or any hazard as I could, as obvious as that sounds, many people make that sad mistake..."

Natures Nature, can we really be sure that the intermittent toxins that drift from a farmer's field are any worse than the polluted air that engulfs all of Ohio and West Virginia (and our surrounding states) so many days of the year? If the poster is in west Texas, then she has much better air on a daily basis than you or I do!

Personally, I believe that once someone has made a choice of where to live, it is best to live there with as little fear as possible, as fear can contribute just as much to ill health as toxins can.

Pdog, sounds like you've got the right idea--talk to the farmer, create a wind break, time your corn, etc.

Let us know how it goes!


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

"Natures Nature, can we really be sure that the intermittent toxins that drift from a farmer's field are any worse than the polluted air that engulfs all of Ohio and West Virginia (and our surrounding states) so many days of the year? If the poster is in west Texas, then she has much better air on a daily basis than you or I do!"

Very true.. What polluted air engulfing our area do you speak of, from what sources?


"Personally, I believe that once someone has made a choice of where to live, it is best to live there with as little fear as possible, as fear can contribute just as much to ill health as toxins can."

That's exactly how I think. Your mind is powerful.. Nothing is worse than living in fear!


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

Nature's Nature -- I did some research last summer because I couldn't figure out why I sometimes cough more in West Va, out in the middle of nowhere, with no town or industry nearby, than I do when I visit my daughter in Manhattan. I found the air now site from the EPA, where you can click on archives and see whole months at a time for the whole US.

The comparison to west texas I mentioned earlier was taken from clicking around on a number of google "images for air quality US" maps, most from the EPA, and noticing that west texas looks pretty good in that department.

I'll link the air now site below. But don't let it get you down (if you look at the archives). Our air today was excellent!! (think positive :) )

Elisa

Here is a link that might be useful: airnow.gov


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

I wonder how accurate the air test are.. I know they do air test on the side of the highways here, it's just a scruphy man that sets up this device on a tripod.. They normally arent even there a day.. What if one of the devices malfunctions? I just wonder how accurate they are.. How much should i worry(or not) just because that website has elevated air pollution? I would hate to worry people like that, especially if it's innaccurate.. I know I looked up the water quality in my local waterways on the epa website recently, a lot of the information was labeled "N/A" or not tested in several years, it was little help; that's what leads me to believe poor maintanance, etc..

"I'll link the air now site below. But don't let it get you down (if you look at the archives). Our air today was excellent!! (think positive :) )"

I never let that stuff get me down, that's when the negativity pulls everyone downhill. Your mind is powerful, if ypu believe your getting poisoned, your going to be poisoned by them thoughts. If you think your eating healthy, youll be healthy, everyone knows the placebo effect. That's the healing power of the mind. I live about a mile from a main highway, i forage all around here. I dont worry.. At least the food is fresh and not sitting for a week or so in a semi truck, driving them polluted highways all the way to your local store.

I remember how i went to this farm stand, i had some dandalions and other greens i was eating before i shopped at the stand.. The old farm guy who claimed his food was farm raised at his farm organic, when it was clearly shipped in, was nagging me, "You gonna wash that", "Be careful of pollutants, wash it".. I replied "no one treated this with chrlorine or fluoride, you want me to wash my clean wild food, with dirty tap water, really? That's like the organic spinach or greens at the store, oh it's organic, but it's been triple washed with crap water and who knows what soap. It never made much sense to me..


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

"Your mind is powerful, if ypu believe your getting poisoned, your going to be poisoned by them thoughts. If you think your eating healthy, youll be healthy, everyone knows the placebo effect. That's the healing power of the mind."

Yes!!


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

What caught my eye was the OP's reference to a ''large farm'' as 120+ acres. 60 years ago when I was in FFA 120 acres would have been a small farm but definitions change. Farm vs. garden: The definition depends on whether you ask the USDA or the Waldorf Astoria.


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RE: Gardening next to a large farm

If you want to check for spray drift you can get oil and water sensitive test cards that farmers use to check their spray density, Gemplers has them for about $50 for 50 2"x3" cards.


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