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NEW VIDEO: Garden safely by testing for lead


It's exciting to see so many people starting new gardens this year. Growing food is a great way to get outside, learn something new (every year you learn new things in the garden!), and to feed your family and neighbors.

If you're gardening in a new spot, it's important to make sure you're not gardening in an area with elevated lead levels. Most Minnesota soils do not contain harmful amounts of lead, but it's still a good idea to get a test, especially in urban areas and near old buildings.

This test can be done with the same sample as your basic soil test. Lead is especially toxic to children, who are still developing, and who are more likely to be exposed when playing in the dirt.

Watch the video below to learn:
  • Where do we often see high lead levels in soil?
  • How much lead is too much?
  • How can you test for lead?
  • What can you do if your soil contains lead?


Due to COVID-19, the UMN soils lab is not taking in-person samples, but you can mail your sample to the clinic.

Author: Natalie Hoidal, Extension Educator - Local Foods and Vegetable Production


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