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        I am thinking of moving. First I need to find out if it will be safe to plant a vegetable garden and flower garden. Bears may come around, is there anything I can do about this? Maybe just forget about gardening? The other question is, I won't have a basement anymore, just a crawl space that floods, or gets damp with heavy rains, it is now dirt, should I put limestone in this crawlspace to keep the dampness smell away, does anyone has a cost on limestone in PA? I have looked all over and cannot find the price for limestone. Thanks!
        Posts: 222 | Location: Bellwood, PA | Registered: Oct 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Are you asking if it's advisable to plant a vegetable garden at your current location, even if you do move, or if you move to a place you have in mind?

        If you want to plant at another location, then it seems like the bear issue would be the primary factor:

        1. Do you expect the bears to get into your veggie crops? Has the current owner had bear encounters? Have you talked with any other homeowners in the area to determine if and how serious the threat is?

        2. If this is an issue in the area of your potential new home, you might want to check with the PA department of natural resources, or wildlife, to learn more about which bears frequent your area, whether there have been problems, and what methods they suggest to protect yourself and your crops.

        3. I think if I lived in bear country, I'd consider some type of very secure fencing before I spent a lot of time outdoors, especially cultivating a vegetable garden. And, seriously, I'd investigate whether tranquilizer guns are permitted in the event of a bear encounter.

        4. I have no expertise to answer the second question, but it does sound as though you have a place in mind but there are some issues with flooding in the crawl space. This might be an issue you want to explore further to determine why the space floods before you consider purchasing this property.

        5. So it sounds like the bear question and the flooding issue should be addressed first. If you're concerned about bears, it might not be just the garden that would attract them. They do like garbage as well!

        Good luck.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
        Posts: 1917 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        With respect to the crawlspace. You need to get the water out of your crawlspace. Covering the ground with limestone won't do anything towards drying the space out.

        If you have gutters make sure they direct the water away from your house, the land should slope away for at least 10' and the water should flow away from your house. It is best to handle surface water on the surface rather than trying to pipe it away.

        You should have footer drains that either flow to daylight so they can drain by gravity or they should go into a sump and be pumped away from the house, but not into public sanitary sewers or your septic tank.

        The ground in your crawlspace should be covered with 6 mil plastic and then you can cover it with crushed stone. I would look to add a dehumidifier to the crawlspace, one designed to work in cool temperatures.

        There are two kinds of crawlspaces, vented and conditioned. I like the concept of conditioned better than vented. If you have a vented crawlspace the dehumidifer is pretty useless as you'll be trying to dehumidify all of Pennsylvania, it won't win. Do a web search on conditioned crawlspaces for details. There are a lot of websites with details that I won't duplicate here.

        With respect to the bears, respect them. Don't put food waste into a trashcan in your yard. That will attract the bears. I suspect certain garden crops are going to attract them as well, certainly berries of all types are going to attract bears to your yard. That is part of the their diet.

        Gardening with wildlife is certainly a challenge. We regularly get deer in our suburban back yard. Having a wooded greenway nearby that leads to a 6000 acre state park and a 300 acre county park gives the deer a superhighway to my garden. That coupled with the long, hot and humid summer has made gardening a much bigger challenge than it was in my central PA childhood home.

        I'd be very surprised if you could legally tranquilize a bear in your yard. What would you do with it after you tranquilized it? The key to living with bears is learning to respect them and not to put things out to attract them to your yard. If they, or Rocky Raccoon find an easy source of food in your trash or edible plants to their liking they'll come around to your house.

        If you have bear you likely have deer as well. Don't bother trying to grow hosta plants. That is like a deer salad bar.

        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
        Posts: 731 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
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        Sparky, I should explain my suggestion on using tranquilizer darts on bear. It was made in somewhat of a jesting tone, but also serious. My thought was that if the bear were tranquilized, a wilfelife official could move it out of her yard. Of course that doesn't prevent it from coming back if the temptations are there in the garden.

        But I do wholeheartedly agree that wildlife need to be respected and accommodated rather than seen as nuisances. It's their land too, and many of the species were here long before we were.

        There are some plants that repel deer; I recall doing some research on that issue when Frodo posted about his new garden and later coming across some articles on the subject. It sounds like you know what attracts deer and what doesn't, but I'll see if I can find the info for you.

        As to the raccoons, they're well populated in my area, even though it's densely populated with people as well. They've learned to adapt to urban living. One neighbor even told me that she sees mother and babies coming out on the night we put out our garbage. Apparently they have mental calendars and have figured out when trash pickup is.

        And anyone who lives in a raccoon area should have a chimney cap on to prevent them from using the chimney as their apartment. That happened to me.


        If the flooding issue in the crawl space is at the home you're considering purchasing, I think it would be recommended that you address this issue with the seller before signing any purchase agreement. You don't know how long the condition has existed and whether there are any long term problems. Nor do you know how much this is going to cost if you don't do it yourself.

        And if not included in the purchase agreement, add that purchase is contingent on a satisfactory inspection, including but not limited to the crawl space and ancillary issues.

        I think this is a reasonable issue for remediation prior to purchasing; otherwise you could end up spending a lot more money that you anticipated.

        Another option though if you really want the house is to get estimates for fixing it, if you're not going to do it yourself, and have an amount equivalent to the greatest of the estimate plus a contingency escrowed until the problem is fixed.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
        Posts: 1917 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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        Thank you both so much for your advice! Let me address the bears first. I don't have a problem with bears at all..yet..I don't mind them either, It is for the house I may be purchasing. The reason I am asking is, the neighbors have a little fence thing around their garbage, which I intend to do also, but the only thing I will be planting, will be tomatoes, and I didn't know if that would attract bears or not, I can tomatoes every year for my own spaghetti sauce.
        As far as the crawl space goes, I did ask the homeowner yesterday when I was looking at the house again. It floods only with heavy rains, then dissipates after a few days. He said about the only thing to do would be to maybe put a sump pump down there, the water seeps up from the ground, that is how it gets into the crawl space. I do plan on extending the spouting out and away from the house. Both the realtor and the owner told me the house is on a creekbed, that is how the water seeps up into the space. I do plan on getting some estimates not only for this, but also other things before purchasing, with contingencies..that's a definite! I'm hoping deer also visit, there are alot of deer around the area. I love wildlife! I would never want to hurt or even tranquilize the bear! I agree, to let them be! Emporium, hometown is where I want to move back to. I just love it there!
        Thanks again for your advice, much appreciated!
        Posts: 222 | Location: Bellwood, PA | Registered: Oct 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks for the update and explanations.

        I don't know if bears would be attracted to tomatoes; the state or local wildlife folks might have some information on that though.

        It wouldn't hurt to keep your tomatoes in something similar to what the existing owners use, although I think if a bear wants to get into a cage it will.

        Deer are attracted to certain plants and repelled by others, so you could research those issues and plant what would attract the deer (but not the bears!)

        Deer are lovely to watch, though; a friend of the family lived in a rural farmland area and regularly had half a dozen deer visit her yard. She and her family used to watch them from the house.

        I don't know about a sump pump in a crawl space; that's not a subject on which I have any knowledge, but I would tend to be a bit leery of what the owner says as he obviously wants to sell the house! In addition, I'd still be concerned about the few days that the crawl space is flooded after heavy rains.

        Good luck, and I hope everything works out well and that the bears don't take a liking to your tomatoes.
        Posts: 1917 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Right garden sprite, I am being very leery!! I am going to look into an estimate on replacing a main pipe which is the crawl space..right now, it is a cast iron pipe..the latest inspection..also recommended p-traps..whatever that means..but I am trying to look into everything...the inspection didn't really look to was done in March..the homeowner did make some improvements, but where water and flooding is concerned, that sort-of scares me..hence..the checking out everything with a fine-toothed comb..the reason the first homebuyer did not purchase..the realtor told cold feet..gee..wonder why?? haha..but I am trying to do my homework on this one! I really would like to get you happen to know how difficult it would be to convert a now bedroom..(small) into an office, laundry room..someone told me it would be pretty simple, because the first bathroom is on the other side of the wall..and the tub is right the pipes would be right there..then it would be simple to just vent the dryer outside, since it would be on an outside wall..the tub drains slowly..probably due to the corroded cast iron pipe..but will have to find out about that one also..I did let the realtor will need fixed..but I am just thinking of knocking all of the need to fix things off of my offer..which keeps getting lower! haha..
        Posts: 222 | Location: Bellwood, PA | Registered: Oct 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Sounds like there are still some issues beyond the crawl space flooding that need to be addressed before you feel comfortable with this house. And I think you're right to be concerned about flooding. The damage could be hidden and you wouldn't discover it until too late.

        The fact that the first offer fell through would raise some serious questions as well; you're obviously not the only one concerned with this issue, and apparently the seller wasn't willing to be flexible then.

        It occurred to me that you might ask your current agent for the homeowner's policy you have on your existing house if he/she can check the claims database to determine if the seller ever filed any water damage claims? I don't know how this is done, but I do know that agents have access to this database because a claim I had filed in the past was reflected when I changed homeowner's insurance carriers.

        As to the conversion of a bedroom, I don't really have any expertise in this area except to observe that if the wet wall is already there, it would seem to make the conversion to a laundry room easier. However, I know absolutely nothing about capacity and whether or not what's there would accommodate existing as well as future facilities. I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable folks here. Big Grin
        Posts: 1917 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Exactly! Thanks again!! I am hoping more offer advice too!!
        Posts: 222 | Location: Bellwood, PA | Registered: Oct 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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