Got a green thumb? This week, SECC’s resident reporter Sophia Morris finds a way to test her soil for safety.

I’ve been wanting to grow my own herbs and veggies at home for a while now. But I realised that I had no idea whether the soil in my backyard was safe to use for food. I live in an older house, and who knows what had been put in the soil over the years.

But it turns out there’s an easy way to make sure your soil is safe. Macquarie University offers a service called VegeSafe where university scientists will analyse your soil samples for free (though a donation is encouraged).

All you have to do is mail them five separate soil samples and they do the rest. I got the results emailed to me in around two weeks, and learned that my soil had safe levels of lead, zinc, copper and other metals. Now I can enjoy my herbs and veggies without worrying about ingesting anything nasty.

If you’re curious, you can also get your vacuum dust analysed by the same service and discover what lurks within your home. And all the data goes into an accessible map so you can compare results to others in your local area.

Pretty good, hey?

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