Contaminated Manure? What to use instead?

greenhaven(SW MI z6)July 12, 2012

Last year and this year my tomatoes have suffered herbicide damage, and it doesn't appear that we will get any good fruit again this year. Last year I built two raised beds with untreated lumber, coated them with linseed oil, then filled them with bagged top soil and well-composted manure from my very own horse and manure pile. This year I did the same with two more beds.

I have never, until last year, experienced this problem before, although I am not an experienced veggie-grower. Ornamentals and native flora are more my bag. When 8 out of ten tomatoes this year showed herbicide damage I first thought drift, since we live close to crop fields and the neighboring prairie sprayed out parts of their property. But two tomatoes look fine, if small, and these are the ones planted in LAST years bed. Now I suspect systemic exposure, and that maybe the horse was eating contaminated hay.

I learned right here on this forum about how sensitive tomatoes are to the herbicides, but now what do I do? It seems ridiculous that I cannot even use all that manure to feed my garden. What non-synthetic amendment can I use if not the manure? And how long before I can plant tomatoes again in this year's beds?

I am going to pull all the 'maters tomorrow. :o( I guess I will be buying them this year instead of growing them, no biggie I suppose. But my garden is constantly discouraging me.

I need a hug.

And some advice.

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tomatofiend

I'm sorry to hear that your tomatoes got herbicide damage. Ours did too at a community garden. We determined that it was the soil we used that was composed of some contaminated compost. Specifically we have 2,4-d exposure.

I've heard that it sometimes takes up to a couple years for the herbicide to become inactive in compost. If you want to grow veggies out of the beds with the herbicide, you might have to grow other more herbicide-tolerant veggies until the soil is naturally ammended.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 2:50PM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

That is sort of what I was thinking, incorporate that compost into a larger-scale garden we planned to stage over a few years, but that will let the chems to deactivate.

I don't know what else to use for amendments, though, if I can't count on my own manure.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 7:43PM
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tomatofiend

Yeah that is a tough situation. I just recently heard about using Activated Charcoal to speed up the process of herbicide decomposition. Look into that to see if it could potentially help absorb some of the herbicides.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 3:14PM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

Thank you, tomatofiend!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 3:38PM
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