London (change)
11 messages
09/10/2012 at 17:08

ok, so moving house-lovely sized (if small) garden but then we find out that when the last people moved in 8 years ago they found a load of burried car batteries (they were cleared up by the environmental department). 

is there a way to recondition the soil so that i can grow lots of lovely flowers? or will any spillages have neutralised by now? 

thanks from kat

09/10/2012 at 17:16

What is growing now?

09/10/2012 at 17:31

The acid would be Sulphuric acid so the effect would be to make the soil acidic. Buy a cheap soil testing kit and check the pH of the soil. If it is highly acidic (and I doubt it after all this time) then add Lime to bring it up to neutral.

As Kate asks, what is growing there now?


09/10/2012 at 18:03

nothing at the minute, we're not moving in till december. and the people there at the mo just graveled it.

i want to grow some veggies/ make a veggie patch. at the minute im growing them in pots and am happy to do so untill the gardens sorted as there is a fensed of area ready prepared  

09/10/2012 at 20:11

Then you need to do the soil test, I cannot believe the environment dept can leave it in a toxic state or it would affect the neighbouring gardens, how do they look?

09/10/2012 at 20:13

Sorry -bit confused where the batteries removed 8 years ago or have just been removed?

09/10/2012 at 22:11

removed 8 years ago, the garedens nextdoor look ok- will have a better nosiy over the fence when i pop back to mesure up some stuff. 

i think they cleared up most if not all of it- have ordered myself a soil testing kit

09/10/2012 at 23:36
How about just growing annuals for next year ? Do ph, soil, test to see if it's acid or alkaline and then grow annuals purely for the colour. See now they grow! See if leaves look healthy and green. You can get to know your soil and plan what you want to use your garden for. Maybe too for you to contact the council to make sure soil is no longer toxic. I wouldn't grow veg, etc. yet until you have done all this.
10/10/2012 at 06:53

I would be more worried about any possible lead contamination from decayed batteries - if there's lead in the soil it can be inhaled in dry weather.  I don't want to be a worryguts, but I would worry about letting children play in a garden which may have lead contamination  as well as growing veg there - hopefully it was all checked and removed by the environmental department but I would check it out if I were you, just for peace of mind.

 If there is contamination you might have to get the soil removed and replaced. but hopefully all that's been done already.

11/10/2012 at 14:52

Yes, do ask the Council. They should have kept a record of the removal of toxic material.


11/10/2012 at 18:05

Obviously the advice given about the lead pollution is sound, however, the whole of our garden (just under an acre) was full of batteries, though not car ones. Our batteries range in age from the Accumulator types of the early part of the 1900,s up to modern torch batteries. We still find the central core of these (the carbon rod) and the carbon squares of the older types. We put our Veg growing area in the place where we found the least number of them. Been growing fruit and Veg here for the last 18 years and eating it and we ain't dead yet.

So unless the soil is really contaminated there should not be a problem, especially if the batteries were intact, not broekn into pieces.

Hope you manage to find out what has happened, for your own peace of mind.

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