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Garden Design with Indoor tropical plants with Front Yard Landscapes from

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Todays Gardening Tips

Test the Soil for Contamination Prior to Planting

One of the top mistakes people make when they start their spring vegetable garden is not testing the soil prior to planting. What people may not realize is that the soil around their house may be hosting a variety of contaminants, including lead, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals.

Another possible source of contamination is tainted compost. If you use public compost, you may be exposed to dangerous levels of lead and other toxins. Heres why: When municipalities pick up lawn clippings and organic debris for composting, they dont test first to see if the clippings and debris are free from contamination.

The damaging effects of ingesting these toxins chromium, lead and other metals, petroleum, solvents, and many pesticide and herbicide formulations - are many. These contaminants can be carcinogenic, cause congenital disorders or other chronic health conditions.

Most importantly, hire a certified environmental inspector to test your soil and water for contaminants. If the test reveals the levels of lead in your soil are just too high, you may want to consider remediation of the contaminated soil. There are several options, including soil removal, raising pH levels and adding organic matter, or mixing in new soil. A certified lead inspector can tell you which may be the best option for your situation.

Robert Weitz
Certified Microbial Investigator and founder of RTK Environmental Group