Vege garden ruined this season as I used horse manure and didn't check whether or not the source sprayed or not. They have since confirmed that they do spray their fields once a year with a product they get from Wrightsons. Sure it is aminopyralid or one of the similar chemicals in herbicides that have caused damage to my tomato plants, potatoes and beans. The pictures are identical to that I see on heaps of internet sites including the guardian research when it became of problem in the UK around 2005 ish. Can't believe it is sold in NZ without any strict guidelines or monitoring. Feeling really stupid that I didn't check with the stable whether or not they sprayed their paddocks. 

As it was a layer on the bottom and not mixed through I'm going to try and dig out the manure. I know it won't completely get rid of the herbicide but hoping this will help. Then I can dig the bottom into the soil to encourage the soil bacteria to break it down. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this or can offer any advice. I'm gutted as had just set up 4 new raised beds. All of them show signs of this. 


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Comment by Suburban Micro Food Forest on February 11, 2013 at 9:33pm

Contaminated inputs are a problem when were all trying to grow organic. Certified production is so limited that organic producers are permitted to use 20% non certified inputs. Ive brought in grass clippings from commercial sites, which has probably been sprayed, and retail veg waste, which certainly would have been, although I composted it. The permaculture gurus (Bill Mollison, Masanobu Fukuoka, Sepp Holzer) recommend creating fertility with diverse support plants, which Im doing, but it takes time to build up new soil and my site is infertile clay.

Comment by Shona Margaret Calder on February 6, 2013 at 11:34am

Hi Roxy, Thanks for your comment. I'm pleased your community garden didn't take too long to resolve. Hopefully mine will be the same. Last weekend we dug out the layer of manure at the bottom (though it was so composted I'm not sure if this was worth it) and we give it all a good dig over. Hopefully this helps. I'm thinking of planting up one or 2 of the beds and include some beans just to see if they show the retarded growth. Maybe I should plant green crops in the other 2 and leave till spring. Thanks again for your reply. Shona

Comment by Roxy Hart on February 5, 2013 at 10:58am

We had this at our community garden a few years back when a quarry donated us top soil. 

The soil was from a landscaping project that had been sprayed before having the soil removed, which we didnt know till the retarded grow showed up. 

We removed the tomato plants that were in, burned them on the bonfire. filled the beds with mustard and cress seeds. Planted new tomato plants in pots. come autumn we removed the mustard and cress,        (left it to dry for bonfire) then planted another green crop for winter, mixed this in very early spring (when we were sowing tomato seeds :) then thats where our tomato plants went in and we had a successful season without retarded growth.

All the best Shona

Comment by Shona Margaret Calder on February 2, 2013 at 9:54am

Hi, Thanks Suburban Micro Food Forest. Yes I should have composted first and will do this next time. The manure I used was not fresh it was about 8 months old. In the future I will only be using manure if I can source it from someone who farms using organic practices. 

I am making an assumption and cannot afford to get a soil analysis. However, after considerable time spent researching I have come across no other explanation or no similar images indicating an other cause so I can only act on my gut reaction. The lady I obtained the manure from does not know the product but did confirm where she got it. This retailer sells many products used to kill broad leafed plants in paddocks which contain either picloram, clopyralid or aminopyralid. All of which have the same affect on plants. Tomatoes, beans, Potatoes being the most susceptible. The 3 in my garden that have been affected. 

If anyone has had direct experience of this I would be grateful to hear how you had managed this problem and how successful you have been at recovering your garden. Many thanks. 

Comment by Suburban Micro Food Forest on February 2, 2013 at 9:16am

Hi Shona. Thanks for the warning. Unfortunately your research is not scientific. Your manure source says they spray, but hasnt confirmed what product they use. You say you are 'sure' its aminopyralid, but often different plant problems show similar symptoms. However, professional soil analysis for a small area is probably not economic. One possible preventive measure is to compost your inputs first as aminopyralid, like many complex chemicals, is broken down by bacteria. Composting would also make the nutrients in the manure available to your plants, as fresh manure can actually rob the soil of nitrogen as it decomposes. From what Ive read the manure in your beds will probably be clear by next season and the worms will mix it into the soil.

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