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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old May 31, 2015   #1
Fiishergurl
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Default Will this Solarization process work for SWC containers??

At the very bottom of this UC Davis link there is a section on Solarization of containers. If I'm reading this right, it is saying containers can be solarized in less than a day. Is there any way this can be true? I'm looking for a speedier process of solarizing my SWC's as I grow tomatoes year round.

I don't know anything about this so looking for feedback from those of you that do!

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74145.html

In case you don't want to click on the link, I've copied and pasted the paragraph that I'm referring to.

SOLARIZING SOIL IN CONTAINERS

Soil solarization has been shown to be effective for disinfesting small amounts of moist, containerized soil and soil in cold frames. Soil can be solarized either in bags, pots, plastic buckets, or flats. These containers are placed on an elevated surface such as wooden pallets and covered with a “double-tent” of transparent plastic. Soil temperatures should be monitored closely in this planting media to assure that temperatures are high enough to control pests. As an example in warmer areas of California, soil inside black plastic bags can reach more than 160°F during solarization. This is equal to target temperatures suggested for commercial soil disinfestation using aerated steam. At these temperatures, all soil pests can be killed within one hour. The double layer of plastic can increase soil temperatures by up to 50°F, and placing containers on pallets allows for heating from all sides of the soil mass. Alternatively, moist soil in pots, or as a mass, may be placed in closed, black trash bags and placed on pallets. Soil temperatures can be monitored using simple soil thermometers inserted into the center of the soil mass, or by using thermocouples and a digital reading logger. Temperatures can be monitored at multiple locations, but the duration should be lengthened to raise the temperature at the coolest location to the desired level. As a guideline, to completely eliminate pests, maintain 158°F or higher for 30 minutes, or 140°F or higher for one hour.


Ginny
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Old May 31, 2015   #2
Barb_FL
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Ginny,


Did you read on the Florida Thread that Marsha solarizes her entire EB?

The black Husky bags are really thick, can be found at Home Depot and end up costing just over $.50 a bag.

They are huge and would definitely fit a SWC.
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Old May 31, 2015   #3
Fiishergurl
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Hi Barb... Marsha does it for 6 weeks. I was more wondering if the double bagging process the article describea would work in 24 hours (or less like this artcle says). Since I grow tomatoes year round I dont have 6 weeks to solarize. What do you think?
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Old May 31, 2015   #4
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Isn't their time when the plants are seedlings and small? Do you go straight from seedlings to their final spot? Mine do much better when they get transplanted a couple of times so I definitely have time.

If you place the bag in the hottest, sunniest area they get really hot. I have a few on a pallet on my pool deck (surprised DH hasn't noticed). They are burning hot.

If you use the contractor clean-up bags, I wouldn't think you would need to double up.

Just give it the time you have. It is better than not solarizing.

Tomorrow in the heat of the day, I will take the temperature inside the bag.
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Old May 31, 2015   #5
ginger2778
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiishergurl View Post
Hi Barb... Marsha does it for 6 weeks. I was more wondering if the double bagging process the article describea would work in 24 hours (or less like this artcle says). Since I grow tomatoes year round I dont have 6 weeks to solarize. What do you think?
Ginny, right, I did it for 6 weeks, but I was just guessing at how much is actually enough, for all I know it could have been overkill. I think, try it and see. Then please let us know your results.
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Old May 31, 2015   #6
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Ok , I will give it a week if there's time. Better than nothing. I do grow tge seedlings in smaller containers and then transplant after 4-6 weeks. But I go from the spring tomato plants (the ones in there now), to the summer cherry tom plants which are growing in small containers now and will be ready to plant in the SWC's when the spring plants are done, then fall plants once the cherry tom plants are done. Then repeat... :-)

No real down time. I was curious about the article stating that the solarization could be complete in an hour.

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Old May 31, 2015   #7
Fiishergurl
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Originally Posted by ginger2778 View Post
Ginny, right, I did it for 6 weeks, but I was just guessing at how much is actually enough, for all I know it could have been overkill. I think, try it and see. Then please let us know your results.

Ok will do... :-)

Ginny
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Old May 31, 2015   #8
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Thank you as always for the input... :-)

Ginny
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Old June 5, 2015   #9
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Would any of you do anything else to refresh this solarized potting soil after you have solarized it? I was thinking of doing this also, but not in pots. Was thinking of dumping the soil mix in large plastic bags and solarizing those. But wasn't sure if the result would be good as is--wouldn't adding some kind of fertilizer be beneficial? I would be using this in not only my Earthbox(where you would add the strip anyways), but regular pots as well. Any advise please!
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Old June 5, 2015   #10
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Hey Cathy,

I'm doing a combination; I started with dumping the mix in the bags and putting the bags on pallets, and after reading that Marsha solarizes in the EB within the bag, I am switching to that method. All but one of my EB are on casters, so I can roll them into the bag.

If you get the bags, get the contractor clean-up bags; the other ones just don't hold up (at least in Florida). Husky is the brand I use, (found at Home Depot)

I'm testing the temperature daily now; Nothing has reached more than 125 degrees. I'm also testing double bagging.

One other thing, in my EB, I ended up with pot worm which I think is from being too acidic so I am adding more dolomite lime.
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Old June 5, 2015   #11
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Default Clear plastic is recommended.

See the paragraph regarding black/clear plastic.Although intent of post was for SWC,the temps are greater with clear plastic.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/g...ummer_heat.htm

"The plastic used to cover the area should be clear, not black. Clear plastic lets light energy pass through and then traps it, much like a greenhouse. Black plastic absorbs most of the sun's heat without letting it pass through to the soil below. 1-to-6 mil plastic will work fine - the thicker the better."
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Old June 5, 2015   #12
ginger2778
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Originally Posted by kurt View Post
See the paragraph regarding black/clear plastic.Although intent of post was for SWC,the temps are greater with clear plastic.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/g...ummer_heat.htm

"The plastic used to cover the area should be clear, not black. Clear plastic lets light energy pass through and then traps it, much like a greenhouse. Black plastic absorbs most of the sun's heat without letting it pass through to the soil below. 1-to-6 mil plastic will work fine - the thicker the better."
This is good. While I used black plastic last year and had fine results, it isn't any more difficult to use clear. They are readily available too. Thanks very much Kurt, I will modify. I plan to start my solarization in the next 2 weeks.
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Old June 5, 2015   #13
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Originally Posted by Barb_FL View Post
Hey Cathy,

I'm doing a combination; I started with dumping the mix in the bags and putting the bags on pallets, and after reading that Marsha solarizes in the EB within the bag, I am switching to that method. All but one of my EB are on casters, so I can roll them into the bag.

If you get the bags, get the contractor clean-up bags; the other ones just don't hold up (at least in Florida). Husky is the brand I use, (found at Home Depot)

I'm testing the temperature daily now; Nothing has reached more than 125 degrees. I'm also testing double bagging.

One other thing, in my EB, I ended up with pot worm which I think is from being too acidic so I am adding more dolomite lime.
In keeping with Kurt's post, I wonder if the Husky brand comes in clear. I used the Heftys last year, and some did get holes. I agree with you Barb, I think something stronger is in order.
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Old June 5, 2015   #14
Fiishergurl
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Kurt thanks so much for letting us know.l!!

Ginny
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Old June 5, 2015   #15
Barb_FL
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Thanks for the update. I have tons of those black bags filled with potting soil but just started on my EBs.

Today I wrapped 2 EB with clear plastic and filled another and rolled into a clear bag.

The wrapped ones had a ton of condensation on the inside of the plastic.
Should I take it off and let it dry out or leave alone?

I also have a HUGE clear plastic bin, so I am going to fill that with potting mix and wrap the tops. I also have 2 clear Lucite sheets (3/4" thick) that I can use to cover it. I use them on my wheelbarrow so the mix doesn't get wet when it rains.

----
Ginger - Husky makes clear but online only and shipping was about the price of the black ones at HD. There is no comparison between Husky and Hefty.
Some of what they sell as 'clear' are not clear.
Will keep you posted on what I find since I'm ahead of you.

I know the local hydro store would have clear sheeting, I don't want to spend a lot of $ attaching it - duct tape? Any ideas?

It would probably cost more than just buying bags.

---
Am going to convert to clear bags now.
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