Gardening under a Power Line : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi y'all, I'm new to the forum. My question is How safe is it to put in a new garden directly under a power line? It's the one that connects us to the grid and brings our power into the mobile home. My partner insists that there should be no problems with this and it seems that is the only place she wants to put it. I don't want her to do a ton of work on this for nothing. You see the garden will have to be started from scratch here. We have very sandy soil. Our current garden location is very small and no room to make it bigger. Under the power line is a big clear area and it's convenient to water etc. What do you forum folk think?? Thanks Ben Ben

-- Ben Ben (, August 08, 2001


The garden will work fine - I've seen lots of market gardens established on leased land under much higher-voltage lines than that, and the gardens have stayed there for many years. That wouldn't keep happening unless it worked.

There have been some statistical analyses which indicate proximity to electro-magnetic fields from high-voltage (not domestic) lines may be a problem for people (not plants). There have been others, and experiments, which indicate it ain't so. Nothing definitive.

Of course, there would be a very definite health hazard if some metal gardening tool, or pipe, or water from a hose or sprinkler, touched the overhead lines.

-- Don Armstrong (, August 08, 2001.

In the last few years we have had the big power lines planted in a field about 80 feet from our "party" line. Further from our house. Have heard all the pros and cons...mostly the pros from the electric company about them. Does anyone really have any good information about this and any problems they would cause to us humans or our animals and how do you find the truth about them. The company sure isn't telling you anything and since it isn't on my land I don't have anything to say about it. ( I have been around the block a few times when they were putting it in place, court hearing and all so I did my best not to have it near me...but only in America, I guess ) So...any good books or info you can lead me too would be appreciated.

-- Helena Di Maio (, August 08, 2001.

only thing to wwatch out for,, is there is a "right of way" under and around the power lines,, the companys that keep them clear of trees and such sometimes dont have a choice to run thru someones garden,I used to work for one,, and it does happen. But there isnt anything to worry about,,Unless your corn grows REAL TALL

-- stan (, August 08, 2001.

Farmers here in the Tennessee Valley farm right under the grid feed high tension lines coming off the power plants and I have planted climbing okra up power pole guywires. When it was ready to pick the vines weighted down to picking height, after picking the vine climbed back up the wire.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, August 08, 2001.

I'm in radio and electronics, and HV lines have there quirks, but planting underneath them shouldn't be a problem. The amount of EM and RF coming from them is teensy compared to waht we are exposed to from TV, radio, the millions of other transmitters, and solar radiation, background radiation from the universe and such. EM and RF fields follow the inverse square law--if lets say the amount is "8" at 2 feet (jst an arbitrary number to explain this), then it would be 1/2 that at 4 feet, 1/4 that at 8 feet, 1/16 that at 16 feet, 1/256th that at 32 feet--eveytime you double the distance, square the amount--it drops off *fast*. If the lines are, say 256 feet above you, the EM field is about far less than a 1/1000th of what it is close to the wires.

If you really wanna measure the EM there, take a 3' flourescent tube, and stand underneath it at night--the glow (or lack of it) from the tube will tell you :).

We ahve a AM BCB (BroadCast Band) transmitter across the street-- there is enough power in the air to *power* a radio with no batteries, if I built it :) Free electricity can prolly be had from those lines (not much, and not too useful, but hey, the possibilities are there :). I imagine you could search for ideas how to do this.

-- Brendan K Callahan (Grinnell, IA) (, August 08, 2001.

I have 20 years experience in electronics and the electrical area and in college I did a study on the possible effects of living in proximity to HV lines.

First, the line coming from the power pole to your mobile home is not really a high voltage line. It will be 220vac at best. I can't imagine you have 440/480vac coming to a mobile home. Anyway, the electromagnetic field (EMF) surrounding lines of such low voltage would only extend out a few inches to less than a foot or so from the line core.

True HV lines carry tens of thousands of volts and have an EMF that extends up to about 50' from the line core depending on the line voltage.

The conclusion of my college study was the same as most studies on this subject--inconclusive at this point in time. No one can say for sure if the EMF from HV lines cause detrimental effects in humans, animals, or plants. The positive conclusion you can draw from that is- -if there "were" serious effects resulting from EMF, the results of the studies would not always be so inconclusive. So, with low voltage lines, like what feed your mobile home, the EMF doesn't even extend to the ground and would therefore have no effect whatsoever on your garden. The only question with an inconclusive answer would be gardening under truly high voltage lines.

-- Steve in So. WI (, August 09, 2001.

Good advice, folks. Just one other caveat; here in my area the power cos. apply HEAVY doses of herbicides, to keep trees from growing in the area.


-- jumpoff joe (, August 09, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ