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Any gardners out there? (lead soil issue)

Stray_cat

Monkey
Nov 13, 2007
460
0
Providence
I'm planning on starting a veggie garden this year, but there's a really good chance my soil has lead in it (Due to the fact the home and other surrounding homes were build in the 1850s). Is it possible to get around this issue by building a 1 foot high box? Would I have to close off the bottom? Or do I have to repalce a whole lotta soil?

Thanks
 

N8 v2.0

Not the sharpest tool in the shed
Oct 18, 2002
11,007
149
The Cleft of Venus
I'm planning on starting a veggie garden this year, but there's a really good chance my soil has lead in it (Due to the fact the home and other surrounding homes were build in the 1850s). Is it possible to get around this issue by building a 1 foot high box? Would I have to close off the bottom? Or do I have to repalce a whole lotta soil?

Thanks
ask you local county extension agent to see about having your soil tested
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
30,101
2,926
Portland, OR
Raised beds will help a little, but as n8 said, I would have the soil tested first.

We did raised beds in the old house because the ground was heavy clay with lots of rocks. It was easier to add good dirt then to fight with the existing soil.
 

buildyourown

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2004
4,837
0
South Seattle
You can buy instant lead test kits at Home Depot, etc. Check, but I think they work on soil too. I doubt that paint chips would really raise your lead levels high enough to cause issues in plants. I've heard of very high soil lead issues, but it was caused by leaded gasoline in areas very close to busy highways.

Raised beds are a good idea regardless. Dirt is cheap. Build a 1ft deep box. Dig down another 6-12" and use that "old" dirt as fill somewhere else. Fill the boxes with topsoil/compost mix. I have 2 veggie boxes on an old dirt driveway and this is what I did.

Veggies don't really grow roots that deep. Most stuff is less than 6-8"
 

Stray_cat

Monkey
Nov 13, 2007
460
0
Providence
Cool, thanks for the insight. From the tone of everything it doesn't sound as hard/expensive as I thought it'd be to test me soil. Either way glad to know I have some options.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,964
34
We did raised beds in the old house because the ground was heavy clay with lots of rocks. It was easier to add good dirt then to fight with the existing soil.
Add lots of compost and some gypsum to break up the clay. (takes time though)