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Rehabilitating an old house into a homestead!

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We live on 5 acres in the Gulf Coast region of Texas, Zone 9.
We currently raise khaki campbell ducks for eggs and GCN sheep for meat and wool while training a ewe lamb for milking. Our gelded guard donkey produces great manure. Currently planning to plant fruit trees guild-style with native elderberries this autumn. We still need to select nitrogen-fixing undergrowth and narrow down the species of tree we want to plant, though pawpaw is definitely on my list.  

The house came with a producing pear tree, and a large, messy cache of lead arsenate in the garage. The lead arsenate was removed from the garage by the local fire department, but I don't know its impact on the land. Is this something I should be worried about?
 
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Location: Colorado (finally!!)
hugelkultur forest garden food preservation
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Hi Harmony,

Regarding the lead arsenate and whether you should be concerned, maybe.

According to wikipedia, "Lead arsenate was widely used in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, US, England, France, North Africa, and many other areas, principally against the codling moth. It was used mainly on apples, but also on other fruit trees, garden crops, turfgrasses, and against mosquitoes." It was discovered that it built-up in produce, so was eventually replaced with...DDT!

If you think there is a chance of lead and arsenic, have the soil from several areas tested.

Traditionally, if serious soil contamination was detected, you'd have to scrape off the top 6+" of soil, take it to the landfill, then replace it with 'new' soil. Fortunately, there is a better way if you are growing organically (or better, the permie way). You can 'lock up' the lead in the soil using phosphorus. You can read about it at http://urban-homesteading.org/remediating-lead-in-the-soil. If arsenic is the problem, check at https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/how-does-biochar-work-to-improve-or-even-decontaminate-soil .

I'm hoping this information is completely unnecessary for your farm. Good luck and good growing!

~Mary
 
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