Top Questions About Soil Problems

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Questions About Soil Problems

Asked by
Jerseyskies on
June 12, 2019
21918

Q. I just opened my potting soil and it’s full of tiny flies and ants with eggs, I don’t know what to do.

Please help

Answered by
GKH_Susan on
June 12, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

I would take it back to wherever you purchased it no matter how long ago.

If you had opened it earlier and partially used it and the critters entered that way, I would just dump it all out somewhere far away in the backyard.

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Asked by
Welovejc2 on
June 16, 2019
64068
Answered by
Downtoearthdigs on
June 17, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

I would start with a soil test; this will give you information on possible amendments that your soil needs.
Your County Extension Office can help you with this and it generally only cost a few dollars.
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/extension-search
Then I would make a list of plants you would like to grow and then start a bit of research on these plants and what their needs are.
Try to start with a few vegetable plants; don't overwhelm yourself with too many varieties all at once!
Consider gardening with raised beds! A great way to control your soil and nutrients!
Even container gardening is a great way to get started!

I'm listing some articles to help you get started!

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/testing-soil.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/vegetable-gardening-for-beginners.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/category/edible/vegetables/vgen
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/raised-vegetable-gardens.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/quick-guide-to-container-vegetable-gardening.htm
Good luck!

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Asked by
Anonymous on
June 21, 2019

Q. Ph soil test said I have too much phosphorus in my soil…I applied cow manure….

I can’t get foliar zinc and iron. Is there anything else I can use.

Answered by
Downtoearthdigs on
June 21, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

Avoid adding manure as fertilizer. Manure is typically high in phosphorous and can quickly lead to a spike in phosphorous levels.
Add phosphorous-free fertilizer. All fertilizers contain a string of numbers that follow this format: "X-X-X." The first number is nitrogen, the second phosphorous and the third potassium. Phosphorous-free fertilizers will always have a "0" in the second column.
Mix a spray that contains water with 1 percent foliar zinc and iron, then applying that spray to plants every week if phosphorous levels are excessively high. You may apply it every four weeks if phosphorous levels are slightly high. Soils with 300 parts per million phosphorous will take up to five years to go back to acceptable levels.
Have your extension service explain your soil test to you.
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/extension-search
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/zinc-and-plant-growth.htm

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Asked by
highlyrounded on
July 19, 2019
Lebanon, Beirut

Q. My brown soil is often hard and dry

It kind of looks like this https://d2gg9evh47fn9z.cloudfront.net/800px_COLOURBOX7969904.jpg but without the many cracks. I always try to place my finger in the soil to check if it’s moist, but in the case of this soil, it’s always dry and hard. Everyday. Even though I live in Lebanon where the climate is humid and hot (30 degrees celsius). In fact, yesterday I tried place my finger inside the soil, but I couldn’t. And my finger was cut because of the excessive force I tried to use. Also, I place this soil in medium sized pots like these https://d2gg9evh47fn9z.cloudfront.net/800px_COLOURBOX7969904.jpg . But I never notice the water going down the drainage holes for these pots. Is this normal? Is this soil not good for plant growth? Is there a way to make it usable?

Answered by
BushDoctor on
July 19, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

It is always best to use pictures of your own soil, because those cracks help to indicate exactly what the soil consists of. This will determine what amounts of things you will need to add to make the soil usable. Still it is best to avoid clay soils in container.

First, I'll start off by saying this: It will be much easier to get pre-bagged soil online than it will to build it. Should you still need to amend your heavy clay soil, this article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/how-to-improve-clay-soil.htm

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Answered by
Downtoearthdigs on
July 30, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

As with all beneficial soil components, too much potassium can be detrimental to plant growth, as it interferes with the uptake of other substances.
If a soil test indicates a high level of potassium, literally start from the ground up by not adding more to it in the form of a multipurpose fertilizer. Typical fertilizer blends are generally composed of the three most important substances -- nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium -- which are indicated on the packaging by the letters N, P and K. Selecting a blend that is low in potassium, or K, or contains none at all, is a first step in assuring that it doesn't build up to unsuitable levels in the soil.
If a soil test indicates a high level of potassium, literally start from the ground up by not adding more to it in the form of a multipurpose fertilizer.
Schedule any fertilizing within several weeks before planting, so that the potassium doesn't have time to accumulate during the off-season. To minimize long-term potassium buildup, consider using aged or composted animal manure as a substitute for commercial fertilizers, as its components break down more slowly to keep up with plant demand. If using manure, apply it at a rate of 40 pounds for every 100 feet, and work it into the soil to a depth of 6 to 9 inches.
https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG42_Soil_Amendments_and_Fertilizers.pdf

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Asked by
sorlea on
August 12, 2019
dundee oregon 07115

Q. when watering my garden, why doesn’t the water penetrate very deep?

We mix our own blend or actually we mix things like perlite, steer manure, sand, peat moss and compost into some store bought bagged raised bed soil organic. We fill our garden with this now. When I first started watering, the water would only go down 2 inches even with a whole lot of water — why would this be? Now i have some veggies planted and started real slow growing, but they are still alive and growing. What can i do to fix this? Even after a very hard rain the soil was dry below 2 inches.
We try not to use the native dirt as it hard bed clay.

Answered by
BushDoctor on
August 13, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

Depending on, exactly, how much peat you used, I would be willing to bet that this is the issue. If it dries out thoroughly even once it will be VERY difficult to re-wet.

You can try a wetting agent, such as a few drops of dish soap, or a few drops of coconut oil mixed in very well.

This article will offer more insight: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/soil-dries-too-fast.htm

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Asked by
Anonymous on
September 10, 2019

Q. Obviously a kinda mushroom, appeared in clumps all around the edge if the lawn.

Why and how do I get rid of them?

Answered by
BushDoctor on
September 10, 2019
Certified Expert
A.

That is Coprinellus sect. micacei. They do not pose a threat. They are harmless and are eating some decaying wood, either left from a tree stump or buried underground. They are very beneficial to the area, and removing them will be difficult, since very very little of that mushrooms resides above the ground. The real body is in the ground and inside of the wood that it is consuming. What you are seeing is simply the reproductive organs if the mushroom.

If you did manage to rid your yard of it, it would leave your yard open to more dangerous pathogens such as those that destroy lawns and trees.

Still, should you choose to go that route most fungicides will do the trick. You may want to continue to keep them handy for what takes its place, though.

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