Re: Vermin and salad crops

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  charles 3 weeks ago.

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    Hi all, I’ll very soon be moving to a new house that has enough space to create a reasonable size vegetable garden, whilst I’m really excited about starting a No-Dig garden I also have some concerns with regards to vermin in particular the dreaded rat. I am aware that they are present in the garden at the new property so my question is: how do you grow salad type crops (or any that you don’t cook before eating) knowing that rats may have been around them spreading potential disease?
    Are my concerns justified or am I being a little overly concerned?

    Many thanks in advance for any responses.


    • This topic was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  MrErus.


    Hi Mark and I would not worry.
    For one thing rats are not interested in salad leaves.
    Plus, unlikely they would pee in broad daylight, being very discrete animals, and Weil’s disease is degraded by sunlight anyway.
    Hope crops are good.



    Charles, thank you so much for the reply.

    Firstly, I’d like to thank you for sharing your vast experiences of No-Dig gardening, your YouTube video’s have been a pure delight to watch and a huge inspiration for me, I’m very much looking forward to getting your books now.

    Could vermin pee get absorbed through the soil and into the plant via the roots? I’m just curious if roots had any type of in-built filtration to prevent the uptake of pathogens.
    I wish I knew more about these mechanisms.

    I was born in the late 70’s, I think modern life and its assault on all germs, antibacterial this and that has given me an OCD level obsession with germs, together with media pushing how disease ridden vermin are, is a bad combination, I think (well I know really) perhaps I need relax a bit more about it, but its difficult in the modern world.

    Apologies for the waffle,

    Many thanks,



    Thanks mark and I can relate to those points. Even now there is an obseesion with ‘harmful’ bacteria etc. Most are good.
    I don’t think that roots take up pathogens or humans & animals would have been wiped out long ago.



    Hi. From what I’ve learnt – plants do have a filtering system (more like a firewall). Systemic pathogens usually get in through stems or leaves not roots. This doesn’t stop root crops from having localised root pathogens … they just don’t travel very far upwards, generally speaking. I hope this helps & hasn’t put you off carrots & potatoes.



    Charles & fzjohnson thanks for your responses.

    Below is a message I tried to send earlier today, but for some reason it didn’t appear, having then tried to re-post it, it said it was a duplicate and could therefore not post the message, weird but not unusual, any here goes……

    …..I must confess I already had some knowledge (though not firsthand) with regards to the topic I mentioned, but I wanted to hear what someone with your vast amount of experience thought about it – i.e. someone with a far more reasonable/sensible approach than I.

    Having researched this topic many times over the last few years, its appears that whilst some bacteria have been shown to enter the roots it is unlikely, though more likely in non-soil growing techniques (i.e hydroponics) and/or requires a larger concentration of pathogens, far higher than would be considered normal.

    I believe the No-Dig approach offers another huge advantage over all other growing methods with regards to food safety because of what it fundamentally sets out to achieve – a soil naturally abundant with a huge population of micro-flora (indigenous organisms), these will easily out-compete other pathogens for the nutrients required to survive. So I would conjecture that perhaps No-Dig has yet another huge advantage when viewed from a food safety standpoint as well as all its other significant benefits.

    Like you said if plants didn’t have methods to control pathogen uptake, we’d all be in a lot of trouble, and the Human population would either be very low or extinct. I think modern unnatural farming methods are now beginning to put us more a risk, I’m certainly no hippy but you cant beat nature at its own game, foolish to try but it doesn’t seem to stop us.

    Just a few thoughts, No-Dig continues to fascinate me. Finding you on YouTube has been a game-changer for me on many levels.

    If you’d rather I kept these type of opinions to myself then by all means let me know and of course delete this thread, its just me sharing some thoughts.


    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  MrErus. Reason: typos


    Nice comments here and very thoughtful.
    Mark I am delighted to read a post like this, it has useful information and analogies.

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