Good afternoon! The plant manager at my work (a steel distribution warehouse) has given me permission to use any land behind the building as growing area since it gets great sun and my balcony does not. I'm concerned, though, about the soil back there and whether or not it would be safe to grow vegetables in. It was suggested to me that I could contact the cooperative extension to find out where I could send it to have it tested for toxins, pH, etc. Can someone help me with that? Thanks so much!! Alyssa
Mecklenburg County North Carolina
The soil test that NCDA offers (Extension offices distribute the soil sampling kits) only tests for routine types of soil nutrients. The only "toxic" substance that it can shed light on is the relative amounts of lead in the soil. Other soil residuals that you might be interested in given your location is outside of a manufacturing site would likely have to be done by a private lab. My suggestion is to build raised beds if you were in fact planning to use the site outside the warehouse and you had some history about what processes have gone on in and around the facility. Call my office number if you need more information.