When you are planting a garden, how can you be sure the soil you are using is good for your plants? When can you be sure the soil is really soil? For soil to be beneficial for your garden, it needs to provide your plants with the nutrients they need to grow. Good, clean and rich soil can create a thriving garden. However, use contaminated soil to grow your fruit and vegetables and you may not only damage your plants but also your own health when you eat the produce.
Think about getting your soil analysed
If you think the soil in your garden might be contaminated with metals or other unwanted minerals, you can get it tested to ensure it is safe. Some big cities can have levels of lead in the soil, which can even be found in private backyards. So it's best to find out whether your soil is contaminated before you begin growing.
What to do if your soil is contaminated
If you discover there is a high amount of lead or other harmful minerals in your soil, don’t despair. There are many options available. For example, you can plant your seeds in a raised produce bed to avoid contamination of your vegetables, herbs and other produce
. Alternatively, you can cover the ground in your backyard with good grass to help prevent you and your family from being exposed to these nasties.
How can soil harm our health?
When soil isn’t healthy, the greatest people at risk are our children. Sometimes, kids might put contaminated soil into their mouths and by digesting these minerals harm their health and overall development
. Contaminated soil can also harm animals. For example, if you have any chickens in your yard, soil that has harmful minerals in it can damage the health of your chooks. However, by laying down thicker and cleaner soil, or perhaps even mulching your backyard, you can help protect your animals.
Places to avoid growing produce
The dripline of your home is a bad place to grow a vegetable patch, so avoid those awnings. In many older houses, lead was used in the paint, so any water run-off could unknowingly transfer lead into your soil. If you're uncertain about your soil, why not get a simple test kit? Or, if in doubt, only plant a raised garden bed using shop-bought soil.