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Re: need advice on site with high lead

  • Subject: Re: [cg] need advice on site with high lead
  • From: "Libby J. Goldstein" libby@igc.org
  • Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 20:35:17 -0400

Hi Judy,

We went through the lead thing here years ago. We had advice from ARS and from the Penn State folk. We even had our plants tested, washed and unwashed and found that any lead "in" the plants was actually air deposited and had not been taken up from the soil.

We learned, among other things, that the high level of organic matter and the high pH should protect your plants against any lead up-take. You do want to protect kids against mucking in the soil and then putting their hands in their mouths.

The folk who did raised beds did a good thing and didn't need to close the bottoms of their beds. Neither you nor they actually have any idea of the heavy metal content of their replacement soil, nor will you unless you have the soil you propose to use tested. Lead doesn't move into plants from the roots the way cadmium can; so not to worry too much.

You can use raised beds with your present soil and add mushroom compost to it, thus raising the organic matter content of the soil as well.

You should require all soil: in the growing areas as well as the paths to be mulched. This will keep little curious hands off the soil as well as providing the usual benefits of mulches.

Breathe free,


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