Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 11:35 pm
Location: Pleasanton, CA

Going Overboard on the Garden

I just dug out 9 cubic yards of diseased garden soil. Verticulum wilt - killed everything good I tried to plant. I couldn't move my garden, so I had to fix it where it was. I have been solarizing the hole for 2 weeks. Soil temp is up to 130 F for 3 or 4 hrs/ day. I think I am ready to lay down landscaping fabric and bring in new soil. Planning on adding soil and then doing raised beds on top of that. The new soil will be about 3 feet deep. One foot in the ground, 2 feet in the raised bed.

Looking for some tips.
1) My garden center has a topsoil mix they can deliver. They have sandy loam with 50% additives (wood, compost, Humus etc). The soil looks good and dark, light and soft and not too much wood. Should I be looking for something else? Should I layer soil types? Should I add anything to the mix? There are so many amendments out there.... Green rock, Kelp, Lava Rock Dust, Gravel from ancient sea beds, good fungus, compost, worms….. Oh my gosh, where to begin. :shock:

2) Any suggestions on how to keep the wilt from coming back?


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Welcome to The Helpful Gardener, Delbert.

What an enormous amount of work you've had to go through...

I don't know who your local garden center is, but I know that American Soil Products on Jacuzzi Street in Richmond carries several planting mixes and many kinds of compost. (I purchased 2 cubic feet of their grape compost last year; beautiful stuff. I also looked at their other product listings and ran my hands through the provided samples. Yummmmy, if I were a plant. :))

Many times, "top soil" has just been scraped away from someplace and has little nutritive value for plants. But, of course, it's soil and it was on the top, so... :roll: Such "top soil" is definitely not the mineral-rich, loamy soil that we love to envision when we hear the phrase "top soil." Have you run your hands through the proposed mix? Does it feel good? Would it feel good to be a plant, growing in the proposed mix?

I am a little concerned at the 50% additives which include wood. Decaying wood ties up nitrogen in the soil, which is returned after the wood has decayed, but in the meantime, plants may struggle to obtain sufficient nitrogen.

I have a few other questions, but the "wood" question is foremost in my mind. And, again, I'm very sorry you had to do all of this work...

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

User avatar
Posts: 28241
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Definitely good compost to help fight back the disease, and no chemical warfare (including fertilizers) that weaken your troops. Let the micro-army do the work for you. :wink:

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”