Wildfire Ash, Smoke Should Not Concern NW Gardeners

The recent ash and smoke from West Coast fires has many Northwest gardeners concerned about the potential impact on their produce. Oregon State University Horticulturist and Associate Professor Brooke Edmunds says the ash and haze will not penetrate into fruits and vegetables.

“Folks are kind of mentioning that their garden is declining a little, but we are getting into fall so some of that is normal. Some of it is the plants are not photosynthesizing not as much as they might be, and if they have an ash layer they might struggle a little bit. But we’re not going to necessarily see long term effects on our perennial plants.”

Because of the unhealthy air conditions, Edmunds said the biggest concern right now is for the health of the gardener. She noted if you can, wait until your local air quality improves before stepping outdoor to work.

And once you pull your fruits or vegetables Edmunds said it’s best to:

“Give the produce a rinse-off outside just to get the larger particles of ash … use a watering can or a really gentle stream from your hose to rinse them off outside. Then bring them inside and give them a rinse or two. You don’t necessarily need to use any soap and water.”

She noted the biggest impact the ash will have will be on your soil since it most likely will raise your soil’s pH level.

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