However, if you go that route, you need to be super aware of the soil conditions ... ie, make sure you get the soil tested.
A new report from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) says while gardening in urban settings can have many health and social benefits, there is also a risk of exposure to contaminants like heavy metals, petroleum products and asbestos, which could be present in urban soils.
Keeve Nachman, PhD, author of the study, said while gardeners are usually aware of a garden site's prior use, they may be unaware of the best ways to minimize the risk of exposure to contaminants in urban soils.
The Center notes that the most dangerous elements found in urban soils are cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury -- and that gardeners may introduce these elements into their bodies through skin contact with contaminated soil, by inhaling dust particles, or by ingesting soil particles.
Visit the Center's Urban Soil Safety Page for information on the best way to deal with contaminated soils. But by all means continue urban gardening. It's one of the great pleasures in life.