Today marks the first day of Spring here down under. Some of us dread the upcoming hay fever season. Some may relish in the fact that they can return to the garden. If you fall into the latter, here are some tips to help you keep your fruit and/or veggie patch food safe!
Although most of us consider our home-grown fruit, vegetables or herbs to be more food safe, this is normally not the case.
Five Steps For Spring
- Place your patch of fruit, vegetables or herbs in a non-hazardous place. This is the case especially if you have an older house. The soil around the house can be contaminated by scrapings of lead paint many years ago
- Keep your pets away from the patch so they will not poo on your hard-earned work. Also, try to avoid bird droppings on your veggie patch
- With your manure and compost, makes sure that it is well composted. The heat generated by the composting process not only kills any weed seeds but also helps kill food poisoning bacteria. Prevent easy access to your compost bin by vermin and pests like mice and rats, which can spread disease. Finally, don’t compost meat scraps which attracts vermin
- If you decide to use ‘grey water’ (water from your washing machine), be careful not to put It on the food. The microbes are not food safe!
- You are not the only one out there that loves spring. Weeds, bugs and fungi love it too! Minimise the use of garden chemicals like pesticides and herbicides and make sure follow the directions on the label exactly.
After being in the garden, remember to wash your hands with soap and water. Do this thoroughly since soil can contain bacteria. Once your hard work is paid off and your produce is ready to be eaten, make sure that you wash and dry your fruit and vegetables. Whole fruits and vegetables will be contaminated by soils on the surface. Scrubbing and washing them in water or with sanitisers will remove loose soil and may remove many bacteria and viruses, as can removal of the skin.
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