If your soil contains heavy metals (like lead or arsenic), you can:
- Build your garden on raised beds (to separate food crops from contaminated soil)
- Plant your garden away from old painted buildings and from roads with heavy traffic
- Place landscape fabric between old contaminated soil and new healthy soil
- Mix 50 percent compost into your soil to dilute any contaminants
If your soil ends of having high levels of nitrates or phosphorus, Austin Resource Recovery warns that your garden might be polluting our local waterways. Nitrogen fertilizers are often added to lawns and gardens to help them grow better, but they are also easy to overuse. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus can then end up seeping into our waterways and killing off certain plants and fish, as well as contaminating our drinking water.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your use of nitrogen and phosphorus, check out the Natural Gardener’s website for a list of organic gardening tip sheets or give them a call at 512-288-6113. They’re happy to answer all of your garden-related questions! You can also check out Austin Resource Recovery’s gardening tip sheet here>>