EPA Results for Terra Nova Gardens

Reader Contribution by Nebraska Dave
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Some of you may remember two years ago in the Spring I received a letter from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) asking permission to test the soil at Terra Nova Gardens. It seems that a battery factory spewed out lead into the air, which then settled over the surrounding land. EPA set aside a fund to clean up the area for free. I ignored the letter hoping it would go away. That fall a representative for the EPA came knocking on the door with that same letter to be signed to allow the EPA permission to test my soil for lead contamination.; I felt that the best course of action was to just sign the form and let them test the soil. I was really hoping that the soil would not fail the test because it would require replacement of the best top soil on the planet. The Corps of Engineers changed the course of the Missouri river for flood control almost 100 years ago and so my soil is the bottom of the Missouri river. The top soil is rich, black, and 2 feet deep. To have it replaced would be a total degradation of the land.

Early this spring I noticed holes were punched into the entire area about every 10-by10-foot square. During the summer, I noticed another round of soil samples were taken. Then last fall the hard core sampling of almost every square foot of the area was taken.

Friday, February 27, the letter arrived in the mail from the EPA. OK, this is it. The results will tell if soil removal will be needed. Any thing over 400 PPM will require soil removal. Holding my breath, I opened the letter and read the results. The highest level was 110 PPM. Yea!! No soil will be required to be removed. Do you see me doing a happy dance.

So it’s full speed ahead with gardening this year. The onions planted at the beginning of February are growing strong. I started some cabbage seeds but only 14 germinated out of 50 on February 16. Today I started more seed but in a flat instead of cells. I planted the entire package, which was 300 seeds. Hopefully, if the seed germination rate is the same as the last one, I’ll be able to fill up the empty cells in the 50-cell block. Out of those 50 cells, I will probably only plant 10 into the garden with the rest in reserve just in case old Jack Frost comes calling like last year or hail, wind, and floods like later in the year. Fifty plants should give me enough for four plantings if needed.

The gardening year is started and off to a great start. This may be the best year ever for Terra Nova Gardens.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day and for heaven’s sake stay safe. We got gardening to do this year and I want to hear all about it.

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