Saturday, April 24, 2010

Soil Testing

One thing that we never did till now is get our soil tested by a reliable source. Early on we tested the pH but that doesn't tell you much, only if plants will grow there. Who knows what's in there. The latest superfund winner, The Gowanus Canal, is only a half mile away (down a big hill).

So, we took samples from different parts of the farm and sent the specimen off to the Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to get results.
It took a few weeks, but what a wealth of information. The report goes over the soil pH, phosphorous content, organic matter, nitrogen… all of which the farm checks in as super. 

What we really interests us is the lead content. There's been a lot of chitter chatter about eating food from contaminated soil so we had to get ours fact checked. Our lead content came in at 45ppm which falls in the 'low medium' category. Now, it would be easy to say that if there's any lead at all in the soil you shouldn't eat anything from it but lead occurs naturally in soil. Also, a recent discovery is that some the lead resides in the plant leafs, not the fruit. So tomatoes, figs, grapes, peppers are all harmless to eat because we eat the fruits. On the other hand lettuce, herbs, beet greens, root vegetables should be grown in pots or containers since we eat the leaves.

If you are doing any farming at all you should know what's going on in the soil.


Pistachio said...

yeah, I live in Williamsburg and well, I grow flowers....lots of flowers.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am interested in getting the soil test from the same lab. Which test did you get to get the lead content of the soil? Thanks!!