Can u plant on leach lines?

melissia(7)March 4, 2008

The place that I wanted to put our garden is now where are leach lines are . . . Can/Should I still plant it there?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

Plants can help your septic drain system to function at its best by removing moisture and nutrients from the soil. Shallow-rooted herbaceous plants that are not excessively water-loving are best.
Don't be too enthusiastic in tilling the soil when setting them out, however. This is one situation where double digging is definitely out. When planting close to a line, you may also want to choose plants that do not require frequent dividing.
Also, always wear gardening gloves when planting, weeding or doing other gardening activities that involve contact with the soil over your drain field. This will protect you from direct contact with any harmful organisms that may be present in the soil.
Soils vary a great deal in their ability to filter viruses and bacteria. Clay soils work best, eliminating bacteria within a few inches of the drain trenches.
A properly operating system will not contaminate the soil with disease-causing organisms, but it is very difficult to determine if a field is operating just as it should so
use your septic drain field for ornamentals and plant your vegetables elsewhere.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 3:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Here's my thoughts on this.

THE SHORT ANSWER: Well, I don't think I'd do it.

THE STANDARD ANSWER: To protect your leach field, you should never do anything that might potentially harm the leach field and affect its ability to work properly. So, all that is ever recommended for planting over a leach field is grass. Grass is, in fact, the perfect thing for that location because it is a heavy user of nitrogen and leach lines carry water full of nitrogen.

Also, depending on how deep your lateral lines are buried, anything with roots deeper than the roots of your typical lawngrass could possibly infiltrate and damage the lines.
This is especially true of plants with very aggressive roots.

Finally, I think you aren't supposed to do a lot of activity on top of a leach field because it can damage the lines.

THE REALITY: Every situation is different, but you have to consider the soil in your leachfield and how well it does or does not absorb stuff that is in the leach lines. Clay, for example, is known to absorb stuff quite well and sandy soil, not so much.

I do not believe that any "gardening expert", be it a certified master gardener, a nursery industry professional, a garden writer, a professional horticulturalist, etc. would EVER say "sure, go ahead", if only because of the potential legal liabilities. Thinking of the legal liabilities leads me off in several directions. For one, what if you do plant some deep-rooted crops and they interfere with your leach lines, clog them, cause stuff to back up into the house and ruin your flooring or fixtures or whatever? And, if this happened and your insurance company believed the veggie garden caused the sewage to back up into the house, they probably would deny any resulting claim. (Actually, I don't know if this kind of thing is covered anyway.)

Or, if your leach line pipes were broken by agressive roots or by the gardening activity conducted above the leach field, and graywater leaked/seeped into a nearby water source or neighbor's property, there could be contamination and legal issues as a result.

ABSORPTION OF WATER-SOLUABLE NUTRIENTS OR CHEMICALS: What if your crops (especially root crops) somehow absorb or take up or transmit viral or bacteria disease or chemicals dissolved in the graywater and it affects you or your family or anyone who eats something from your garden? Could it happen? I'm sure it can. Is it likely? Who knows? Is it a risk I'd take personally? No.

GRAYWATER: By planting on top of leach lines, you are essentially choosing to use graywater to water your garden, albeit in a passive manner and not an active one. Every state has laws regarding the use of graywater and you'd have to check with DEQ and see what the Oklahoma laws say regarding the usage of graywater.

I hope there is some other location where you can have a garden.

And, before anyone makes the argument that they do, in fact, fertilize farm fields with human waste in many foreign countries (like China, for example), I can only say that yes they do, but I still wouldn't do it here.

I know this probably isn't the answer you were hoping for, but I suspect it might be the answer you were thinking you might receive.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I didnt think I should . . . I didnt think it would be good to water it all the time -- because the lines are supposed to be leaching the wtr out . . .

Yes there is plenty of other space to put it -- we have 20 acres, I just had it planned for this spot because of the way the fence and gates are and also right by my water spicket -- it would have been perfect. Now, I'll have (or I should say dh) will have to build another fenced area for the garden -- The system is brand new and it would be several years probably b4 we had problems, but I am thinking I wont do it.

Dang it!!!!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Well, pat yourself on the back for making the mature decision! I hate it when the best choice is not the easiest route to go!

In the long run, I think you'll find it easier to start the garden in the right spot, as opposed to starting in a spot that is "probably not the right spot" and then having to start all over again in a couple of years.

Good luck picking the right spot.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ha! Funny this should come up! As a kid I planted sweet corn over lateral lines, not knowing at the time, and had the most amazingly perfect corn crop I've ever seen before or since.
This year, I am blessed to be able to gravity irigate my large garden from a pond. The water is already fertilized with fish fertilizer and I am looking forward to much less watering time as well as a bumper crop, the Good LORD willin and the creek don't rise.
God bless everyone's gardens.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 10:42PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
The Twenty 'Best' Tomatoes
The latest issue of Mother Earth News has their list...
Okiedawn OK Zone 7
What happens to tomatoes that are stunted as seedlings?
Because I seem to have a lot of them. I'm not panicked...
Tomatoes in Oklahoma: Part II, Soil Prep/Planting
WHAT TOMATOES NEED: Tomatoes grow best in loose, sandy...
Okiedawn OK Zone 7
Onion question...
I haven't been on here in awhile....I couldn't sign...
asparagus is up
Went out to plant corn and peas and noticed I had about...
mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma
Sponsored Products
Modern Circular Red Black Bathroom Sink
VIG Furniture - Modern Leather Sectional Sofa - 5021 - VGEV-SP-5021
Great Furniture Deal
Contemporary LED 4 Lights Plug In Wall Lamp for Bathroom
Brushed Nickel Minimalist Wall Mount 9 1/2" High Mirror
Lamps Plus
Vifah Backless Single Wood Outdoor Bench
Silhouette Tree Frame
$14.99 | Dot & Bo
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™