GardenSafe Urged at Melbourne Flower Show

Going to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show next week? Don't forget to take your dirt with you!

EPA Victoria wants gardeners and backyard citizen scientists to gather up soil samples and bring them along for a free test and evaluation.

Get to know what's really in the soil you grow your fruit, flowers and veges in and take advantage of EPA's GardenSafe program ( ).

More than a thousand Victorians have already sent in 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.

Then, when you come in to enjoy the biggest flower and garden show in the southern hemisphere, not only will you be inspired to plant some more greenery, you'll know what you're putting it in.

Along with screening for trace elements such as lead, arsenic and chromium, the garden soil quality indicators we screen for include:

  • Soil texture and composition – the proportion of sand, silt and clay. This can affect how your soil drains water and retains nutrients.

  • Total organic carbon - how much organic matter (such as leaf litter or compost) is in your soil.

  • Total phosphorous and potassium – can give an indication of how well your plants will grow.

"The data we're collecting provides invaluable information on what Victoria's backyard soils are really like," said Victoria's Chief Environmental Scientist Professor Mark Taylor.

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

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