Lots of Dirt

gjmanciniSeptember 26, 2010

We have had multiple projects over the last year from digging out a patio to breaking up cement in the basement. Needless to say we have a huge dirt pile in the yard. I know the dirt is nutrient deprived. Do you think I can mix it with compost and put some in my raised beds? Im concerned about the soil that came from under the house, and also where the patio was placed, I dont if it has ever been exposed to chemicals. What does everyone think?

Gloria M.

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I'd look at it this way, using as a reference the clay soils of CO with shallow top soil (snort) so dear to our hearts. Going from top down, you have "top soil", then a mix of clay and top soil, then clay, then you get into some seriously funky stuff, say after 1 to 2 feet down. Its that deep layer that, I've seen, causes problems when its brought up to the surface. Other places, that nasty soil is deeper than a couple of feet, maybe 4 or 5 feet down.

So, to put it another way, everywhere in my 3 acre yard where they've dug to put in the power line, the water lines, the line from the propane tank to the house, all that, cause problems. There is soil from 4 - 5 feet down, or deeper, mixed up in the beds. Some plants show signs of chlorosis - some never thrive. But some plants do just fine.

The big trick is adding, continuously, organic matter. Compost, grass clippings, leaves, bark mulch, etc. Then I won't notice. But not do that for 2 years, the 3rd year, here comes the yellow leaves again.

So, I dunno what specific advice to give. If it looks like dirt and not mine tailings, then you're probably good to go, and add lots and lots of compost and manure and clippings and all that, which I'd be doing anyway to any soil.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 8:17PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I'm near the end of lots of landscaping projects with extra soil as well. This stuff out here in Aurora is actually pretty good, and our approach is to add organic matter to it. We feel good about it and our yard looks good and we have mounds all over the place. Now, for our veggie garden, I imported and incorporated new into native 8" down, and our production is very good.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 9:09PM
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