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Gardener raises concern after examining new order of soil: 'Make sure it's not contaminated with herbicides or anything'

"Any way to salvage it?"

"Any way to salvage it?"

Photo Credit: iStock

Inexperienced gardeners, beware: You may not get what you asked for when you order soil for your plot.

One Redditor took to r/vegetablegardening after they received a suspect delivery.

"Had this 50/50 topsoil/compost delivered," they wrote, "but seems like a LOT of mulch and pebbles. [Is] this usable? Any way to salvage it?"

"Any way to salvage it?"
Photo Credit: Reddit

A handful of commenters recommended sifting it to sort out the large debris, while one user noted the wood chunks and other unfinished composting material would "absorb the nutrients in the bed, and your plants will struggle."

The poster may have been disappointed with the company they bought from, but it wasn't the worst outcome. The soil wasn't full of rubber like this Redditor's garden, and they hadn't contaminated it with chemical pesticides like this Redditor did.

Indeed, one commenter suggested this: "I'd recommend doing a bioassay to make sure it's not contaminated with herbicides or anything. … I do this with every new soil I get now, after spreading contaminated compost all over my garden a few years ago."

Once you get going, gardening can be easy, but it requires upfront work and investment. This person was starting raised beds, which are excellent for growing your own food.

Homegrown produce can also save you hundreds of dollars a year at the store while reducing your pollution — which comes from packaging as well as the production and shipping of the goods — and the resulting impact on the environment.

Most importantly, gardening leads to healthier eating habits and increased physical activity.

"We got some like this and … had to supplement it with mushroom compost and fertilizer," one user wrote. "... The next season was much better. I also use organic biochar."

Others thought the poster was in the clear, with someone saying the soil didn't need to be fully composted to be usable and that they could supplement it with liquid fertilizer. A second Redditor advised: "Use it as is or mix in some sand. Course material isn't going to ruin it."

Next time, this gardener and others can follow the advice of this TikToker to produce their own soil-compost mix.

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