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iangagn
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Location: Canada

Preparing the soil over which a pool used to be

Hello,

Since I am planning of planting my first organic vegetable garden this coming summer, there are a few things I need to clear out of the way before I even contemplate choosing what varieties of what veggies to grow and one of them is the very soil in which they will develop.

I am fortunate enough to have quite some space to experiment with this project, but the problem is that there used to be a pool on top of the soil in which I am going to grow and I am concerned that the chlorine of the pool water, in case there was leakage, will negatively affect the quality and growth rate of my plants and that's if it doesn't downright prevent them from germinating in the first place.

Is there any way to measure the chlorine levels of the soil that doesn't require expensive tools?

Considering the potential chlorine problem, what do you suggest I should do with the soil before I grow in it?

I am considering gardening in raised beds for the first year while I restore the soil with compost, worms and other things that I will learn along the way. This might be a dumb idea, but if I there is excess chlorine in the soil, maybe I could plant something that has a high rate of chlorine absorbency?
*** Gearing up for his first growing season! ***

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ElizabethB
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In the US we can have comprehensive soil test done through our County Extension Office.. IDK if you have a similar resource or not. Inexpensive $10 - $15. If you don't have a resource then raised bed gardening is probably a good way to start. Start some compost bins. Even though the compost won't do anything over winter you can get a start by dumping kitchen scraps and mulched leaves. I have access to cured horse manure but I have to pick that up by the trailer load and that is more than I need for my 2 4'x4'x4' compost bins. I did a query for rabbit breeders in my area and found several. They are very happy to have me fill 5 gallon buckets with manure. When it warms up enough for the compost to start cooking I will add the manure. For now just kitchen scraps and some soil from my summer herb pots. Lowe's is in Canada. If you have one near you talk to the nursery specialist about buying broken bags of soil and compost. You will get an assortment - top soil, compost, garden soil, potting soil. Just toss it all together and use it in your raised beds and compost bins.

I really wish I had a resource for testing your soil for chlorine. The test strips and tablet kits do not give an accurate reading. They are fine for testing water but not soil. As a Master Gardener project I compared results of the strip and tablet kits to university lab test. WAY off the mark. A pH meter does give an accurate reading but that won't help with your possible chlorine issue. Maybe some on the forum can give you a recommendation.. I wonder how long it takes chlorine to dissipate from the soil. I know a high sodium content takes forever to work out of the soil.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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iangagn
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Location: Canada

Thank you for your input, Elizabeth, I might just try to convince my university's chemistry lab to run some tests for me. :wink:
*** Gearing up for his first growing season! ***

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rainbowgardener
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Probably not much of a problem. Chlorine is a very reactive element that does not occur uncombined in nature. It is usually found bound with elements such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. When chlorinated water is exposed to air, the chlorine outgasses rapidly into the air. In the soil, it probably gets bound up in salts. If there had been a lot of leakage, it could increase the salinity of the soil there.

Increased salinity can be bad for plants and especially for the life of the soil, the microbes, fungi etc on which your plants depend.

But if you flush the area thoroughly with water and then add compost to add back in some soil bacteria/fungi, it should be fine.
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Dillbert
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uhmmm, I seriously doubt there's a problem here.

the problem with chlorine in pool water is - it goes away.

same if it saturates into the soil.

now, the biocides / algacides / kill-everything-cides - they be more persistent.

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ElizabethB
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If you can get your university to run test for you that would be great. Do your universities have ag departments? That would be a place to start. They can also provide you with variety suggestions and planting date suggestions that are region specific. There really is a lot of great scientific, region specific informatiion out there if only you can find it. I swear by the infomation that I get from my County Agent my land grant university LSU.

By following their recommendations I am assured of a much more successful garden. My County Agent is very responsive - Mater Gardeners provide support for the extension office which frees up our agents to respond to county residents. I have been so dissapointed to learn that so many areas of the US lack a responsive county agent. Really sad since the service they are supposed to provide is paid for by our tax dollars.

Good luck with your project and Merry Chritmas to you and yours.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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iangagn
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:48 am
Location: Canada

(Marlingardener, Dillbert, rainbowgardener) There wasn't any sand under it, but the soil is tightly packed due to the weight of the "lawn tumor" so I guess I'm going to have to break it up after the last frost and add some compost to it. I don't think that there was much leakage, if any, but better be on the safe side, heh? I suppose that the chlorine could have evaporated almost as quickly as the water leaked, thanks to the warm and dry summer. I haven't used any other products (algicides, biocides, etc.) so that's certainly not going to be a problem. Seems like this might be a non-issue after all.

(ElizabethB) There's at least a dozen universities and colleges around my area that have agriculture departments and I am definitely going to start emailing a couple of the professors there, thanks for pointing that out. There is a city-owned botanical garden in Montreal where I think I could find some valuable information on local planting dates and plant varieties as well. Watch out to-do list!

Thanks for the advice everyone and happy doomsday, err holidays!
*** Gearing up for his first growing season! ***



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