A gardening season potentially washed away

One of the things that has been most strange to me about the Flood of 2008 coverage is that I actually recognize the landmarks. In the past, most of my flood experience has been virtual – I’ve watched the news and sympathized, even sent money for relief, but never actually recognized the locations involved. It’s a completely different experience, the recognition something akin to seeing an ex-boyfriend on the street with a new girl. It’s the same sickening drop in the stomach, no matter how glad you may have been to leave him behind.

Now the floodwaters are being to recede, but that means the recovery is just beginning. And what a recovery it’s going to be. After all, floodwater is dirty-nasty-foul stuff. Oh, toxic sediment, thanks for stopping by (not that you were actually invited to the garden party).

Yeah, speaking of that garden party, I had never given a second of thought to what happens when your home garden floods until I read the Johnson County Extension’s list of warnings and admonitions. The basics? If you had raw sewage in your garden, don’t eat the food. In fact, quit growing any more food, because now you have contaminated dirt. For 90 days.

There are some other suggestions from the Extension: Get rid of leafy greens. Don’t eat your strawberries. Discard anything that was covered with water, even if it was a root vegetable like potatoes, carrots or garlic.

I realize I’m not there to work in my old garden, but when I read that advice (wise as it is), I felt that corresponding sickening drop in the stomach. As if the flooding wasn’t bad enough already, the thought of missing the entire growing season (because a 90-day growing ban would, for all intents and purposes, cause just that) is pretty horrifying.

4 Responses to “A gardening season potentially washed away”

  1. 1 kate June 26, 2008 at 10:02 am

    This is just horrible. It’s one thing if it is possible to replant, but another to have to stand by and do nothing for 90 days. It’s an entirely different feeling when you know the area hit by floods or other natural disasters.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener June 28, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Kate, yeah, the waiting would be really awful. I feel bad for those gardeners suffering through that. (Although, to be fair, I feel even worse for those who have lost their homes and possessions…and livelihoods.)

  3. 3 Annie in Austin July 1, 2008 at 11:10 am

    So even cooking the flooded vegetables isn’t enough, Genie? I guess the fear is less of germs than of chemical contamination, then – yipes.

    Whining how the raccoons ate my peppers seems awfully trivial after reading about these massive disasters for farmers.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener July 4, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Annie, nope, apparently it is germs, not chemicals, that sometimes get into the cellular structure of the plant and can’t be cooked out. I’m not sure the full extent of it…it is awful, though…

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