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New to gardening and tried to make our first raised beds this year. We called around asking for soil/compost for vegetable gardening in raised beds and had it delivered. It looked very black and we filled the beds. But once I started working with it my hands would almost be stain black...later after rain/water the very back soil started to show brown wood chips, red clay chunks, and even white/gray rocks... Seems like it was "painted" and not sure how or with what?? Or if it's safe?? I had planted all my seedlings into these beds (tomatoes, zucchini and bell peppers) but they haven't really grown much if at all. :( There growth is stunted, yellowish leaves, no flowering. I've tried using liquid fertilizer and adding worm castings so far.
Is there anything I can do to fix the soil now? Or can I ammend this soil to plant fall crops? Or is it ruined by whatever black powder they put on it. So upset we tried to ordered soil specifically for my raised beds and were sold a bad product.



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Staff member
Welcome to our forum!
I do not believe the black dust is bad, it would be mostly carbon. It is more than likely crushed charcoal. or black loam soil!
I think the real issue is that the 'soil' you purchased was not screened to remove stones, and large wood chips. Small pieces of clay is alright
Ordering soil by phone, and have it delivered, can be risky since you did not see what it looked like before buying. Best to go to local company first to see what they have, ask questions as to the composition
It is difficult to give you a concrete solution to your issues.
I'm thinking a triple mix which can be 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 peat most, 1/3 compost...the compost can be composted manure, and, or leaves and other organic matter...look for composted sheep manure since it tends to be free of weed seeds.
You cover your soil with 3 inches of triple mix.....

Hope this helps.

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