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need advice on site with high lead

  • Subject: [cg] need advice on site with high lead
  • From: Grow19@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 15:55:53 EDT

Hi, I'm organizing a vacant lot community garden in Washington DC  (size 
60'x70').  Unfortunately, the soil test results came back from  UMass with the 
following lead levels: extracted lead=151ppm, estimated  total lead=1146 ppm.  We 
need advice on how to approach gardening in this  lot.  A couple of garden in 
the area with high lead (don't know how high)  chose to create raised beds, 
about 1" deep and use new soil.  They didn't  seal off the bottom.  And I don't 
think they've tested their food.  I  don't have enough technical knowledge to 
know if this is a safe approach.   Whole thing is making me plenty nervous.
We would like to use phyto-remediation to make it possible  to safely grow 
food in the lot before resorting to sealed raised  beds.  I would welcome all of 
your advice and ask if there are research  scientists in the Washington DC 
metro area that we could contact directly for  additional help.
Judy Tiger
FYI, here is the remaining info from soil test results:
- soil pH 7.6
- buffer pH 7.4
- nitrogen N03-N=4ppm
- nitrogen NH4-N=1ppm
- organic matter: 6.6% (desirable range 4-10%)
- phosphorus - 11 ppm
- potassium - 151 ppm
- calcium - 5689 ppm
- magnesium - 117 ppm
- cation exchange capacity 30.6 meg/100g
- percent base saturation K=1.3, Mg=3.2, Ca=95.6
- micronutrient levels all normal
- extractable aluminum 27 ppm

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