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Get the lead out

5jun2009: I have written before about the raised bed that we built for growing vegetables last year. This year, we expanded the garden. We put the beds in at ground level. This allowed us to put beds along the side of the house, since we can't build raised beds up against the foundation. It was also less work and cheaper.

[new beds]

In the course of digging, weeding, and planting, Cristyn sent off a soil sample for analysis. The initial report indicated shortages in some nutrients, but nothing major. Last Friday, however, we got the long-delayed report on heavy metals. The dirt in our yard has unsafe levels of lead. Not Superman-can't-see-through-it levels, but still don't-eat-the-foliage levels.

So we adjusted our plans, had bricks and dirt delivered, and got to work. In two days, we replaced the ground-level bed that we'd made for the gooseberries with a raised bed. (It's the one in the background of the photo.) The gooseberry bushes are young, and they'll be in the new, safe soil a long time before we get any berries off of them. Since it's a big bed, Cristyn also moved a bunch of other plants in with the sapling bushes.

Since mint plants spread aggressively, you can't put mint in a bed with other plants. The usual solution is to grow mint in pots. Our solution was to give mint its own little bed. Today we made it a raised bed. (Foreground of the photo.)

Next week, we put in the final raised bed around the corner in the back yard.

Also NEW: I've changed the image in the upper left corner of this page again.


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