So the last week has had its up and downs. As a precaution Unity Gardens test all of its sites for lead, and if it in a area of concern we have a full panel done. In the past 5 years we have only had one garden not pass. This week we had a 2nd garden. While the levels were below what the EPA would consider unsafe to grow in we did not want to take any chances. But it got a little news coverage and got me to thinking about spending some more time teaching people about safe garden practices. We do teach some classes in the winter and touch on soil safety, but this just presents another chance. So should you be concerned ? First know a little history of the lot you are growing on. Is it an old dump site, or a site where a house burned down.? Old cars leak toxic chemcials into the soil, and fire ruble can contain all sorts of things. If your house is pre 1978 and has been painted with lead paint the soil could have lead in it. This is not meant to scare people off from gardening most areas are safe, but if you have concerns it does not hurt to check. The best place to start is the health dept. here is a link to the St Joe Co Website . There are some ways you can make your garden safer. Raised beds, and mulch in between the beds goes a long way. Most of the exposure to lead is from dust that gets on the food. Washing your food in the garden and then again in the home can also help. Check out this Soil Safety PDF
Hi, my name is Mitch. I am the Unity Gardens Manager. I am a Purdue Master Gardener and teach many of the gardening classes. I also manage the LaSalle Square Garden, and maintain the website, blog and newsletter.