Top Questions About Soil Problems

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Questions About Soil Problems

Asked by
Anonymous on
May 7, 2011

Q. Soil Sterilization and Nutrients

I have some potting soil and a bit of sea soil. How can I sterilize (kill the mold, especially) it so it isn’t wasted and I don’t have to buy more? Will it have nutrients in it after the sterilization?

Answered by
Nikki on
May 8, 2011
Certified Expert
A.

You can place about 4 inches of soil in a shallow, oven-safe pan covered with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees F. to sterilize the soil.

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Asked by
Anonymous on
May 11, 2011

Q. Weeds Indicating Soil Deficiencies

I have lettuce and greens in a bed where everything seems to be growing too slowly. Lots of red root pigweed, little grass blades, purslane, and lamb’s quarters are coming up as weeds in there. I’m wondering if these weeds indicate any deficiencies or soil character? Earlier this season we tested the bed, it was still a bit acidic (5. 5 – 6. 0). We added lime and planted.

Answered by
Nikki on
May 12, 2011
Certified Expert
Asked by
Anonymous on
May 16, 2011

Q. Soil Preparation

I have clay dirt in my front flower garden area. How do I prepare the area for planting? I just bought this house and there is all shade in the front and I have already broken my garden hoe trying to dig.

Answered by
Nikki on
May 17, 2011
Certified Expert
Asked by
4micah on
May 19, 2011

Q. Leave Veggie Garden Unplanted Over Summer

I want to let my veggie garden go unplanted this summer but would like to put nutrients back into the soil. What can/should I plant to help the soil become more healthy? Last year my tomatoes didn’t ripen well at all. This would be the first in about 7 years I won’t plant vegetables there.

Answered by
Nikki on
May 20, 2011
Certified Expert
Asked by
Anonymous on
May 24, 2011

Q. Raising pH Level In Soil

My soil is a level 5 and I want to raise the pH. How do I do this?

Answered by
Nikki on
May 25, 2011
Certified Expert
Asked by
Anonymous on
May 26, 2011

Q. Lead Levels in the Soil

I would like to make a raised bed for growing vegetables but know that the existing soil is contiminated with lead. Is there some kind of soil barrier I can put down and cover with healthy soil and grow veggies risk free?

Answered by
Nikki on
May 27, 2011
Certified Expert
A.

Peat is thought to possess an excellent metal binding capacity. In addition to peat, gypsum and lime may be suitable as fixing agents in lead-contaminated soils. Cover this with layers of moist newspaper and then add soil. The most effective way to reduce the level of lead is to add compost and mulch as much as possible. There are also specific types of crops (like leafy greens) that you can plant and then dispose of prior to planting anything else. These plants naturally absorb large quantities of harmful chemicals, making them ideal to use them in order to soak up the unwanted toxins. However, remember not to ingest these plants—you must dispose of them and avoid throwing them into the compost pile. Also, keep in mind that lead only leaches downwards, so as long as your raised bed is 6-8 inches deep, most of your plants should be safe.

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Asked by
Anonymous on
June 7, 2011

Q. Ants on Dirt Areas of Yard

We have had a lot of constuction lately. The areas of the lawn that are shadowed or dirt have a lot of ant hills. How do I get rid of them, and what should I seed with to make sure I get my lawn back? The soil is a hard clay and sandy mixture in western Massachusetts. What should I treat the soil with?

Answered by
Nikki on
June 8, 2011
Certified Expert
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