But I'm so sad about our soil! Now that the black walnut tree is gone, I have sun and so much growth in the mint and the berries. I am going to do a more focused soil test, to see if the beds are all contaminated, or just the area by the house which is typical of old houses with their former lead paint.
I still have my raised beds with their clean soil that we brought in, so I'm growing edibles there; I may need to rip out my berry bushes and mint - I'm assuming that once a plant has been grown in lead-tainted soil, it doesn't help to transplant to clean soil.
New this year, I colonized a ledge with two big planters filled with nasturtium seeds. Little babies are coming up! I will never get over that excitement. I had wanted to plant grapes to climb up our side porch posts, but given our lead situation, I planted a clematis instead. Perhaps I will become a flower gardener and rely on the excellent farmer's market 2 blocks away for my local produce. Perhaps that is my silver lining - that I can plant all the flowers, instead of prioritizing for edibles. Poppies! Peonies! A lilac bush!
We planted our little oak tree, free from a city grant program. It's barely taller than the irises, and I'm trying to be all mature about "planting for future generations" when I just want it to hurry up and give us some sheltering shade.
Our street tree, a zelkova, is growing tremendously. I planted some red creeping thyme as a groundcover in the tree well, and now I'm going to add some fencing because I think the neighborhood dogs are peeing in a corner and killing my thyme.
I feel better for having written this all down. This helps me have some perspective and cling to the good parts of this story and my life, instead of focusing on the bad and chewing on it to feed despair. Today is a beautiful, breezy spring day, and I'm going to go out and sow some cilantro seeds in my raised beds. Onward!