soil organisms-vegetable Garden

Asked December 7, 2012, 5:56 PM EST

I am sterilizing all the soil in raised beds. Nematode issues. Holding temperature 120° to 180° for 24 hours. This should get rid of nematodes. Will this temperature kill the good beneficial organisms? If so, how to replace them. If not, what needs to be added to give what is still alive a jump start.

El Paso County Texas horticulture soil and fertility issues

1 Response

The information is not sufficient to give a definitive answer. I will provide my thought following these assumption.
1. raised bed - soil/growing area is physically separated from soil environment.
2. 120 -180 degree F for 24 hour is generated using some form of heating element
That is essentially pasteurizing the soil where majority of soil organisms will be suppressed or killed (both good and bad), this would also include some weed seeds. In a closed environment (secured separated raised bed), one can amendment with microorganism amendment or incorporate good quality compost (assuming that it contain majority of beneficials).

If you are referring to conventional raised bed, then the temperature parameter is insufficient for much suppression. The temperature, if measured correctly should reduce number of microorganisms. The soil environment is a good buffer and these organisms will soon recolonized the bed.