soiling ourselves: LEAD!

Opened up our soil test results from UMass this week. Velly intelestink, if you find this kind of thing intelestink. To recap, we took samples from four different spots around the yard in anticipation of pulling together a nice, healthy landscape:

The Veggie Garden (VG)…

soil test | veggie garden

The Back Storage area (BS)…

soil test | back storage area

The Driveway Slope (DS)…

soil test | driveway slope

and the far side of our back yard near our neighbor’s property line (blue house). We call that Frank’s Edge (FE)…

soil test | frank edge

So, results. Let’s get right to the fun stuff. btw, ppm means parts per million.


Estimated Lead: (VG) 102 ppm, (BS) 108 ppm, (DS) 84 ppm, (FE) 3039 ppm!!!

from UMass:

< 500 ppm = Low        |     500-100 ppm = Medium

1000-3000 = High     |     > 3000 = omg Very High

Total lead levels higher than 1000 ppm are legally hazardous. Contact your state’s Department of Environmental Protection regarding removal of contaminated soil.


… young children and pregnant women should avoid soil contact. Total lead levels above 1000 ppm probably represent a hazardous waste situation.

Clearly the high lead is from paint removed from the neighbor’s house — a pretty common occurrence in New England. Luckily it’s in a spot farthest from our house. However, it’s still in our yard where Bix plays. Yikes. Soil, consider yourself GONE.


Soil pH: (VG) 6.0, (BS) 5.4, (DS) 6.4, (FE) 5.8

UMass recommendations for Veggie Garden:

Incorporate 12 lbs of ground dolomite (magnesium rich) limestone per 100 sq ft.

for Back Storage area:

Apply 50 lb of dolomitic limestone / 1000 sq ft. Apply 2 lb of phosphorous / 1000 sq ft. Apply 6 lb of potassium /1000 sq ft.

for Driveway Slope:

No limestone this year. Apply 1 lb phosphorous / 1000 sq ft. Apply 2 lb of potassium / 1000 sq ft.


Nitrogen: (VG) 7 ppm, (BS) 0 ppm, (DS) 6 ppm, (FE) n/a

Back storage area has no plants and no compost, so of course no nitrogen. That will change. I suppose they didn’t supply nitrogen info for Frank’s edge because they didn’t want to encourage me to amend the soil of death?


Organic Matter: (VG) 3.6%, (BS) 2%, (DS) 3.7%, (FE) 6.7%

UMass recommendations: desirable range 4-10%

For vegetables, if you prefer nutrients from organic sources, apply the following per 100 sq ft…

Nitrogen: 1-2 bushels well-rotted manure PLUS 1 lb dried blood

Phosphorous: 3.5 lbs steamed bone meal OR 10 lbs rock phosphate

Potassium: 5 lbs wood ash

For flowers… Apply one-haf the organic recommendation above.


All good to know. Also good to know: don’t lick the ground over by Frank’s house.


2 Responses to “soiling ourselves: LEAD!”

  1. mc says:

    Is Dave psyched to be a full time gardener? Cuz lord knows you don’t have the time for it!

  2. Brook says:

    shhhhhhh! don’t TELL him, he has no idea he’s about to be a full-time gardener.