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Carpet in pathes


        I am involved with several community gardens in Minneapolis,
Minnesota and we are in the process of establishing new gardens and
improving one of the large gardens we have.  The largest garden (150 large
plots) has been gardened continuously since at least 1938 and has has a
pretty loose organization until just the last few years.  One issue that is
coming up currently is the use of old carpet in garden pathes.  The garden
coordinator and others think the carpet looks really bad but there are
certain gardeners (old timers and the more frugal) that think using carpet
is a good idea.
         Aside from the aesthetic issues, some of us are concerned that the
carpet will leach or at the very least have the dirt, lead, and other
nasties in the carpet wash out into the soil.  There are numerous toxic
chemicals in carpet and treatments like ScotchGuard aren't benign either.
Are there any studies of the use of carpet in garden pathes and what kind of
things can leach out?  I did find some discussion on this list several years
ago and it sounded like toxicity issues aside, that carpet didn't work all
that well anyway.  Any experience or knowledge you can pass along would be
appreciated.

Eric Hart
Longfellow Community Council
Community Garden Subcommittee
Minneapolis, MN
612-722-3260



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