We had a great turnout to our third Soil Kitchen! Gardeners brought us 321 soil samples from all around Austin.
What’s in Your Garden Soil?
What do my METALS numbers mean?
Soil to Groundwater (the metals can leach from the soil to the groundwater)
Total Soil Combined (includes inhalation, ingestion, dermal, and vegtables consumption pathways)
*There is no known safe level for ingestion of lead.
If you have heavy metals below the Soil to Groundwater numbers, in general there is no need to be concerned about lead or heavy metal exposure.
If your results are between the Soil to Groundwater number and Total Soil Combined, conduct best management practices (BMPs) to minimize lead exposure from vegetable gardens: maintain high pH for fruiting vegetables, keep soil mulched to minimize dust inhalation.
If your numbers are really close to the Total Soil Combined, then you should consider not growing leafy vegetables or root vegetables.
If your numbers are above Total Soil Combined, you should consider a raised bed or do not grow a vegetable garden. Place mulch, gravel or paving stones around the raised beds to prevent dust inhalation as you garden.
What about the Soil NUTRIENTS?
If you have high levels of nitrates or phosphorous, your garden may be contributing to groundwater and surface water pollution.
Gardeners might need to add nitrogen fertilizer to their gardens to provide just the right food for their plants. While an addition of nitrogen and phosphorus to the lawn and garden may be necessary, homeowners often use more than what's recommended, and over time this excess nitrogen (over 19 ppm) and phosphorus (over 50 ppm) pollutes water and air. Nitrogen and phosphorus at higher levels causes a loss of certain plant species, death of fish and aquatic organisms, and contamination of drinking water.
Talk to us!
We hope your garden will grow wonderful fruits and vegtables this spring and summer. Send us an e-mail if you think of ways we can improve our 'Soil Kitchen' event. All ideas are welcomed and encouraged: firstname.lastname@example.org