Garden Solarization – The 'Hot Trend' in Caring for Your Soil

| 10/9/2018 8:12:00 AM

Fungi, bacteria, and nematodes! The gardening community's "lions, tigers, and bears", these pests can take up residence in your garden soil and cause harm to your plants. Unlike above-ground threats which directly affect your plants, soilborne risks to your garden jeopardize the soil itself, rendering it useless to grow in unless remedied. Fortunately, all you need is a plastic sheet/tarp, the sun, and 4 to 8 weeks to solarize your soil.


(Parasitic nematode affected carrot - Img src: GardenInMinutes) 

Solarizing Your Soil

Healthy soil equals a healthy garden, and healthy soil has to be maintained. Solarizing your soil is a non-chemical and effective method for killing soilborne threats by process of capturing radiant heat from the sun to increase your soil's temperature. The increased temperature makes your soil uninhabitable for the soilborne issues, leaving you with healthy soil once complete. It's a simple process comprised of 5 steps:

  1. Soil Preparation

To trap heat and keep the tarp from sailing – getting buffeted by the wind which cools the soil – the garden needs to have all existing plants removed and soil raked flat. It doesn't need to be perfect, just clear of any chunks of soil or divots that can create air pockets.

  1. Soil Irrigation

Wet soil will heat and retain heat better and than dry soil. By wetting the soil up to 12 inches deep, you are ensuring maximum heat can be reached at deeper levels which will kill or drive away more parasites, fungi, bacteria or pests.

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