26 September 2023

Garden Show offers to test our dirt

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The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has called on visitors to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show this weekend (1-2 April) to bring their dirt with them for a free test and evaluation.

According to EPA Victoria, gardeners, backyard citizens and scientists should get to know what’s really in the soil they grow their fruit, flowers and veggies in.

It said they should take advantage of EPA’s GardenSafe program and discover what such a report would reveal.

Chief Environmental Scientist of Victoria, Professor Mark Taylor said more than a thousand Victorians have already sent samples for testing.

“All you have to do is go to the EPA website, register and follow the guide to collecting your soil samples before you go to the show,” Professor Taylor said.

“The data we’re collecting provides invaluable information on what Victoria’s backyard soils are really like,” he said.

“The results are sent to participants to give a unique and important insight giving you a greater understanding of your own local environment.”

The EPA said they would screen for trace elements such as lead, arsenic, chromium, and garden soil quality indicators.

It said it would also test soil texture and composition or the proportion of sand, silt and clay, which can affect how soil drains water and retains nutrients.

It said it also included a test on the total organic carbon or how much organic matter (such as leaf litter or compost) is in your soil and total phosphorous and potassium, indicating how well your plants will grow.

The EPA hopes visitors of the biggest flower and garden show in the southern hemisphere will be inspired to plant some more greenery and know what they’re putting in it.

For information on the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, visit this PS News link.

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