The Peoria City/County Health Department and the University of Illinois Extension are partnering to highlight the importance of avoiding lead contaminated soil during gardening season.
The two groups gathered for a joint press conference at the Forrest Hill Organic Community Garden in Peoria.
Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension, says more home gardens are popping up around Peoria. She recommends you test your soil for lead before planting seeds.
“Take several samples from that area and put them altogether to get a good composite…and then send it to a soil lab,” Ferree said.
The Peoria City/County Health Department’s Wil Hayes says some Peoria soil has high amounts of lead in it, leading to health risks. Often times it’s around older homes where lead has chipped off, and decomposed into the soil.
“Make sure the soil being used isn’t soil being contaminated by lead and either ingested or passed onto someone else where they can get lead poisoning and became sick from it,” Hayes said.
Master Gardener Harry Elger already uses outside soil and a raised bed to grow his veggies.
“I think ideally you can build your own soil and have a raised bed…and use organic compost,” Elger said, describing his healthy gardening strategies.
Learn more tips from the Peoria City/County Health Department on healthy gardening HERE.