Making Soil

urankhuApril 3, 2008


I live in an area with high levels of lead contamination in the soil. As a result, it is possible I will not be able to use any of the soil in my yard for my garden. I know there is debate on whether plants grown in leaded soil are dangerous, but I'd rather be on the safe side. So, I'm going to have to import soil for my garden, and as consequence will be going with raised beds.

So I have two questions - 1.) If I mix some humus, some vermiculite and some peat moss together is that "soil"? Or does there need to be something else? The gardening books I've read talk about using those substances to amend soil, not to replace it altogether.

2.) Raised beds - are they supposed to have a bottom? My husband says no, but how are you supposed to isolate the roots from the lead if they grow through the new soil into the old?

I would really appreciate any help people can give with this.


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lalameija(8 oregon)

PLease do not add vermiculite to your soil. It is not natural and I think I read it can cause cancer. You would be better off buying a load of compost from your local landscape supply retailer. You can also buy "garden soil" and such at HOme Depot.
If you are worried about lead contamination your raised beds should have a bottom, and be made faily tall. Alternatively you could water frequently and shallowly so roots don't have to grow too far into the soil in search of water. This is usualy not recommended because it is kind of a waste of water, due to evaporation.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 5:40AM
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From what my previous research suggested, the danger of lead-contaminated soil has less to do with any lead that the plant absorbs, and more to do with gardening in it. Garden dort will get on your shoes and clothes, and from there into your house, where it becomes dust.

Have a dump-truck bring in cubic yards of real topsoil and compost for you, instead of messing around with potting mix.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:35PM
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