Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Poison from Castor Bean Seeds Won't Affect Future Crops

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Poison from Castor Bean Seeds Won't Affect Future Crops

Article excerpt

Q * Three years ago, I planted castor beans in my garden, and they thrived. At the end of the growing season, I eliminated the leaves and most of the stalk, as it was my understanding that this plant is poisonous. Now I would like to plant vegetables in this same area, but I am wondering if the soil has taken up any of the poison. How long do you have to wait to rotate to another type of vegetation, with no ill side effects?

A * You have nothing to fear from your planting of castor beans (Ricinus communis) three years ago. The poison ricin is found primarily in the highly toxic seeds. Any immature seeds that were not collected by you when you cleaned up the residue at the end of the growing season will have long since decayed. In any event, the poison would not have been taken up by other plants grown in this same space. …

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