In neighborhoods near industrial areas, dangerous levels of lead have been found in residents’ backyards. The amount of lead varies widely from yard to yard, and even within each yard, making some of them dangerous to play or grow vegetables in, since lead can cause learning disabilities. How to soak it up??Plant spinach (just don’t eat any of it).

Soil scientist Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh planted spinach gardens in several contaminated yards in Bayside, Oregon, to see if the plants could help clean up contaminated soil. She says, “People were planting backyard gardens and hadn’t even thought about the fact that there were heavy metals in the soil that could be taken up into the plants.”

When she tested the yards in Bayside, she found lead levels of 375 to 7,000 parts per million, which are much higher than EPA accepted levels. However, the lead contamination in one yard was cut in half when she planted a spinach garden there.

In parts of the U.K., when you plant a field, you get a crop circle! Don’t miss seeing these beautiful images on our new 2004 Crop Circle Calendar.

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