Poison ivy in vegetable garden

Asked August 10, 2018, 11:45 AM EDT

Hi. We have found poison ivy in our vegetable garden. Are our tomatoes, arugula and cucumbers safe to eat? The poison ivy we've found is nearest a couple tomato plants, but doesn't seem to be touching the actual tomatoes themselves. Safe way to wash the vegetables so we're not too afraid to eat them? Thank you!

Kalamazoo County Michigan

1 Response

Poison ivy leaves, stems, fruit, flowers, and roots contain a toxic substance called urushiol, which can be very persistent on anything it touches. I am not aware of research on the oil's ability to penetrate the outer skin of vegetables but would urge caution since we do know that the oil can penetrate human skin readily. If there is any chance any part of the plant has come into contact with some of your vegetables, it is possible that the oil has been transferred to those vegetables. Even if the poison ivy isn't in constant contact with the tomato plants, is it possible that there has been contact in strong winds?