I love spring and summer time dining—including farm stand meals and harvesting our own “very local” produce right from our container garden. But while homegrown can be extremely healthy, if you live in an older home you need to use caution.
If your house was ever painted with lead paint—including wood, shingles, trim, or stucco that’s now covered with siding—you don’t want to plant edibles near your home. That’s because lead-based paint, even if it hasn’t been used on your home in decades, can leach into your soil and show up in your plantings.
In fact, years ago there was a famous French vineyard that was planted close to a highway. Leaded gas fumes penetrated the soils, and the wine was contaminated with lead when it was tested.
Why is lead so dangerous? In the cardiology world, high levels of lead in the body are associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk for heart attack in men. Excess lead in the body can also cause renal failure, as well as brain damage in younger children.
So, if you have an older home that may have been painted with a lead-based product, don’t take any chances. Plant colorful flowers and shrubs for display close to the house, then plant your vegetable garden far away from the house or in containers.
Now it’s your turn: Do you grow your own vegetables or herbs?