just a quick rant
ok, so it's actually a long story to rant about something that is nobody's fault but my own -- i was trying to do something positive and it bit me in the ass.
when my former roommate moved, he left a nice iron gate on the side yard along with the raised stackstone beds he designed (i owe him many thanks). i modified the gate a bit this year by welding a rectangular bracket into it using 3/4" tubing. the bracket i designed was just large enough to hold your run-of-the-mill rectanguar planter. my end goal was to work on vertical veggie growth this year using climbers like cucumbers and beans.
well, i grew a few cucumbers and green beans from seed and planted some in the planter to let them climb - the rest went in the ground. after a few weeks when the heat picked up, they wilted occasionally (heat + lack of water), so i figured i should mulch them to help retain moisture.
the mulch i wound up using was Vigoro's "Premuim mulch with weed stop".
now, i was pretty adamant to read the back label well, and didn't see any noteworthy precautions other than "wear gloves", but i speculated this was one of those "so-you-live-in-the-USA, land-of-the-ever-present-lawsuit-happy-joe-public, and-we-need-to-cover-our-ass-in-case-you-get-a-splinter" type of thing. i really didn't sit down and think about what "WEED STOP" could be....i mean, to me, mulch IS a weed stopper, right?
so, 5-6 days passed since laying down the mulch, i watered every other day, everything was looking good for the first few days. no more wilting! perfect. on roughly the 6th day, i come home from work at night and decide to put the mulch around my tomatoes and bell peppers ... right about the time i finish up with mulching them, i notice everything in the small planter is turning yellow.
what gives? what changed? THE MULCH!
i snatched the bag up and read the details from top to bottom again only to find - out of the thousands of words on the back of the bag - there is a single line of fine print buried in the middle of everything: "blah blah blah ... do not use on ornamental flowers or fruit producing plants ... blah blah blah ... contains herbicide ... blah blah blah"
i spent the next two hours picking every last piece of this crap from around the plants i'd just mulched and scraping the top half inch of soil off of everything. well, the planter with my bean vines and cukes is small, contained - and it was watered regularly for almost a week, so there is no doubt this crap saturated the soil. i removed what mulch i could see and let everything sit for a couple of days.
things started to regain their color, but the leaves on the cukes were 30% smaller than the ones (same seed, same germination times) that i'd put in the ground, and the green beans had this weird lime green color. my gut told me i should rip the plants out just because ... well, because the stuff has an herbicide...what would it do to me if any absorbed into the veggies and i ate it? nasty thought.
i waited a couple of weeks before calling Vigoro's 800-number to ask about it. long story short, they basically told me to rip out anything and everything that came in contact with this stuff, DO NOT eat it, etc.
being that i didn't water it in with any of the other plants and i removed all soil that came in contact with it, i think i'm safe. but i'm still angry, both at Vigoro and myself...really kicking my own ass.
more than anything, i wanted to vent. i obviously should have read better, but at the same time, i think Vigoro should be WAY more careful to a) brand their products more clearly to say "HEY, THERE IS HERBICIDE IN HERE!" AND b) on the instructions, print clearly in multiple places using a LARGE BOLD FONT if there is a contraindication for the product, rather than putting a single line of fine print buried deep in all the other text. nowhere in the "precautions"/"medical info" section did i see any warning about this going near edibles.
well, lesson learned for me. several weeks of growing lost ...thankfullly, i have several other beans and a couple of cucumbers coming out of the ground which aren't affected. but man, that sure doesn't hurt my pride any less.
just a warning to others - even with something as stupid and simple as mulch....read the directions....thrice. even if a big name like Vigoro makes it.