Soil Question

bdk111May 5, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, i put in top soil in my garden. Today, I had my red oak tree cut down and now my garden has a top layer of tree/stump shaving..

I would like to plant a few of my heirloom chilli plants, and couple of other random seed pods (purchased from local home depot) into the soil. This is my first time in the garden and failure means I get dissuaded to try again.

Will the shavings hurt the soil? I used a rake and mixed the shavings into the soil as much as possible. If at all possible, I would like to plant this weekend.

Please help... what can I do? Or have i done enough?

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My guess is that your garden will do OK with the red oak shavings mixed into the topsoil. However, as the fungi multiply, feeding off the chips, they will take up some of the nitrogen from the soil, leaving less available for the green plants that you are trying to grow. This will not kill the plants, but they might not get as big and lush as you had expected. Many people are using shredded tree leaves as mulch around garden plants, successfully, and these eventually rot. Plants don't seem to mind growing near rotting wood or rotting tree leaves.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Thank you Ericwi.

What if I put in a couple of days worth of used coffee grounds and mix it with the soil? Would that help?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:04AM
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It's generally a good idea to avoid mixing wood into soil due to the potential for nitrogen depletion. As mulch, on top of the ground, it is not in as much contact with the soil and can also draw N from the air, so the effect is not as pronounced.

Coffee grounds won't hurt. You will need to watch your plants for signs of insufficient nitrogen, and fertilize if necessary.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Thank you to all for your advice. I made the mistake of raking in the shavings with the soil prior to asking for help. But will use the used coffee grounds for the next couple of days and then plant my seedlings this weekend as planned.

Hopefully they bloom and i can use fertilizer/additional coffee grounds as needed directly around my plants if they look like they need them.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 6:29PM
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