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Your garden

You should treat all floodwater that has been in your garden as potentially contaminated with sewage.

Seek medical help if you have, or if any of your family have, severe vomiting or diarrhoea.

Vegetables and fruit 

Floodwater may have contaminated your vegetable or herb garden.

Some garden produce may be kept and cleaned. Peeling and cooking is recommended to prevent illness. 

Your garden will take about a month to become clean after flooding.

Don’t eat or preserve food during this time. 

Discard leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and Asian vegetables such as pak choy, as well as soft berries and herbs. These are highly susceptible to bacterial contamination.

Wash beans, peas, tomatoes and capsicums in water. Soak them in a weak chlorine solution of two tablespoons chlorine bleach to four litres of water. Peel and cook them thoroughly before eating. 

For ground vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, wash them in water and sanitise with chlorine solution as above. Peel and cook them thoroughly before eating. 

Produce with a protective outer skin such as peas, melons, corn or oranges should be washed and disinfected before the outer shell, skin or husk is removed. Shell, peel or husk the produce and then cook if possible.

Mosquitoes and your garden

Floods may lead to an increase in mosquito breeding habitats. 

You should get rid of potential mosquito breeding sites by:

  • emptying containers where rain or floodwater has collected, including:
    • pot plants
    • tarpaulins
    • palm fronds
    • buckets
    • tin cans 
    • roof gutters
  • checking mosquito screens and flip valves on rainwater tanks.

For more information contact Environmental Health by calling 1800 095 646 or emailing envirohealth@nt.gov.au.