Hello! We've had been cats for years (drop-offs) who have gotten in the habit of dedicating in our garden. We've not gardened in a couple years because of this, but I want to start again. I will put up fencing, which will keep cats out as they are older and won't jump over, and if I find feces while preparing the soil, I will dig it out. I'm wondering how long it will take, though, until I don't have to worry about what's already in the gard an plot. Any expert advice on this would be most appreciated!!
Carroll County Maryland
Keeping the cats out of the garden is essential.
The pathogens in the feces already deposited are killed and degraded by air, water, heat, and microorganisms. The health risk decreases with time (additions of organic matter will also help), Of course, the risk is higher if the garden was frequently used as a litter box.
The food safety risk this year is greatest for low-growing leafy greens and root crops because of the increased chance of direct contact with feces. Wash these crops thoroughly before preparing and eating. jt