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  • Organic soil for a raised bed

    Created by Goingreen on

    Hello! I prefer organic produce as much as possible, but it’s just too expensive to buy. Recently I have acquired my first organic heirloom seeds, and since the local gardening season is about to start, I’m preparing the old family vegetable garden.

    Problem is, the garden soil is not organic: we raised rabbits on the soil and we didn’t feed them organic food, so though the ground is rich with nutrients, I’m afraid I can’t use it for my seeds. So I decided to build raised garden beds. And I needed soil to fill it up with.

    My last few plants were grown in a rich soil I found near a river beside our house. It has all the qualities of a good soil, but we live downstream from a farmer who goes bizarre with his GM fertilizers and the excess seems to have seeped into the local soil.

    Everywhere else on our plot, the soil is rock-hard clay, and I’ve looked at countless methods for making soil, but all the required stuff that isn’t available in my country and I can’t import something like that. My whole country is anti-organic and gardeners around here barely have an option.

    I don’t want to ruin the seeds’ organic certification. Does anyone know how to return soil to an organic state? Or where I can dig up good soil that is most likely organic?

  • Author
  • #207463

    Eric Vinje

    Hello –

    ​How long ago were the rabbits inhabiting the plot? Were any broad spectrum herbicides applied before the rabbits were introduced? That is the only addition that would be of concern to me. ​It is simply a three year wait period from the date of the last in-organic addition in order to certify a plot as organic. Unfortunately, due to this transition period it is impossible to certify your plot as “organic” until you’ve waited three years, even if starting with untouched land or certified organic soil and nutrients. Based upon your description of the plot and previous land use I would not be concerned about residual chemicals beyond 90 days. Decomposed rabbit manure is actually thought to be one of the best soil conditioners. If you can, I would hold out and wait to plant in this soil, as it will likely be highly productive.

    Have you done a soil test to confirm contamination? I would ask the farmer directly what sorts of herbicides and fertilizers he is using. He may be using a stable product that has minimal or non-existant rates of seepage. Working with your neighbor may be key in this situation. He would be able to tell you exactly what products he is using, and hopefully be able to explain their life cycle through the soil. He may also have an idea where you could find manure or topsoil that has been untouched for cheap or free.

    Hope this helps,
    Good Luck!

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