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Spring into fun and safe gardening in Tacoma

April 7, 2016

Free how-to gardening workshops and information on soil testing for arsenic and lead

Health Department at McLendon Hardware’s Spring Family Garden Fest with benefits of raised-bed gardening in Pierce County. Learn to raise vegetable safely even if your yard may have elevated levels of arsenic and lead from the former Asarco Smelter.

TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will be at the free Spring Family Healthy Garden Fest hosted by the McLendon Hardware store on North Pearl Street in Tacoma providing information to home owners on soil testing for arsenic and lead contamination. The Asarco copper smelter operated for almost 100 years in a northern portion of Ruston and Tacoma. Smoke for the smelter stack distributed arsenic and lead over soils in a 1,000 square mile area. The Health Department is participating in McLendon’s how-to workshops on raised-bed gardening because raised beds are a great way of growing healthy vegetables and fruits while avoiding contact with potentially contaminated soils in yards.

The Spring Family Garden Fest is Saturday, April 23 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the McLendon Hardware Tacoma Store located at 1015 N. Pearl St. in Tacoma. All the activities and workshops are free. Raised bed gardening and other workshops will be on the hour between 11:00 and 2:00. Other activities will be on going. Here is the list of events:

  • McLendon Hardware’s raised-bed gardening workshop along with a clinic on automatic watering systems and rain gardens.
  • Signups for free soil testing for arsenic and lead in your yard by the Health Department.
  • Tips for you on gardening and plants from the Master Gardeners Program at the WSU Extension.
  • Advice from the City of Tacoma’s Natural Yard Care Program on how to make your yard environmentally friendly.
  • All you want to know about City of Tacoma’s TAGRO products.
  • Fun activities for families with young children.

Contact Greg Tanbara at the Health Department for more information: (253) 798-4784, or You can get more information on the Tacoma Smelter Plume Program at

Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager
(253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822 (cell/text),
Steve Metcalf, Communications Specialist
(253) 798-6540, (253) 345-8238, (cell/text),

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