Posted: September 17, 2014
September is National Food Safety Month, consider this a reminder that sometime harmful bacteria may be in the soil and water that come in contact with your produce. There are many sources of contamination – city water is fine but those folks who use a well to water might consider having their water tested for coli form levels. If you are using homemade compost and the pile reached a sufficiently high temperature to destroy weed seeds AND pathogens that could lead to disease. If you have used manure to enrich your soil was it thoroughly composted? Then there are the chemicals that might have been used to control insects and diseases!
To insure your families’ safety be sure to thoroughly clean food from the garden! Wash everything with non-soapy, warm water. The commercial solutions that are seen in grocery stores are not needed; neither is bleach! Use a stiff brush on root crops (beets, turnips, potatoes) to remove dirt.
For answers to your Gardening questions call your county Penn State Extension Office or Penn State Master Gardener "Helpline". Water and soil test kits are also available at the Extension Office.