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On this episode, I’m taking you into our garden to show you our nematode problem and what we’re doing to fix it.

Hi everyone this is Bryan Traficante from and this is Episode 24 of Easy Growing. On today’s episode, I’m taking you into our garden and showing you a problem we’ve been having with plant-parasitic nematodes and what we’re doing to really fix the problem.

What Do Plant-Parasitic Nematodes Do?

Now, plant parasitic nematodes are also known as ‘bad’ nematodes. They’re the ones that go ahead and feed on the roots of your plants and cause them to basically not be able to mature, or if you’re growing a root crop, it causes them to have a lot of disfigurement, which is a really easy telltale sign. So, if you go ahead and take a look at our carrot here you’ll notice it has these weird nodules all over it and that’s because of plant parasitic nematodes.

How Do You Prevent Them From Wreaking Havoc?

Now a lot of times you’ll hear people talk about taking French marigold or African marigold and turning them into the garden soil to try to help prevent the spread of nematodes. And, that definitely helps we do it ourselves but if the problem is bad enough, sometimes you need to basically start over and rid your soil of the problem in the first place. So that’s what we’re doing right now, it’s called soil solarization and I’m going to take you through our garden to show you how to do it, what we’re doing to prevent this
parasitic nematode problem from spreading and hopefully give ourselves
a fresh start for the fall gardening season.

What Is Soil Solarization? (It’s easy)

Alright, so as I just mentioned we’re going through the process of soil solarization to rid
ourselves of our plant-parasitic nematode problem. Basically, what soil solarization is, is the process of covering your soil allowing it to really heat up and kill off these plant-parasitic nematodes. What you’re going to do in short to do soil solarization is…

  1. You remove all the vegetation of the area
  2. You wet your garden soil thoroughly…so you’ll want to run your Garden Grid™ for about 30 minutes to really add a lot of moisture to the soil
  3. Then you encapsulate it with a plastic sheeting (1-4MM thick) to hold in the moisture and allow it to basically collect all the radiant heat from the sun the sun’s rays to increase the temperature of the soil to a point where plant-parasitic nematodes can’t survive…

Plastic Sheet Colors

So some quick transparency here, we’re using black plastic sheeting in our garden as opposed to the more recommended clear plastic sheeting, for a specific reason. We also had a weed problem going on in our garden and basically black plastic sheeting, while it works really well for soil solarization, also helps with controlling weeds spores and weed problems.

Now if you’re in a cooler climate, I would definitely recommend going with a clear plastic sheeting. That has been proven to be able to increase the soil’s temperature to a higher degree than black plastic sheeting, but we live in South Florida so… right now it’s about 95 degrees outside, it’s very hot and we also have very, very intense sun rays. So getting our soil to a high temperature is not much of a challenge for us. So if you live in a cooler climate definitely go with a clear or transparent/translucent plastic sheeting to try to give yourself as much of a benefit of high temperature in your soil as possible.

Let’s Show You What To Do

So with the process of soil solarization, as I mentioned earlier you’re going to want to remove all the vegetation that you have in your garden. So for instance, in the area that we’re just about to do over here; we have some carrots that need to be removed because they have nematode issues. You can see right here little nodules coming off of it meaning that we have plant-parasitic nematodes in this section of our garden.

So what we’re going to do is remove all the vegetation here, run our Garden Grid™ watering system for about 30 minutes to really moisten this soil, then we’re going to lift the Garden Grid watering system off of our garden, place it aside and lay our covering of plastic down over our now moistened soil area in our garden. Then you’re going to take this
plastic sheeting and do your best to tuck it in to the soil layer beneath here, to 1) hold it down and 2) also really just give it a full cover and not let as much heat out as possible. Then go ahead you can either lay your Garden Grid™ back down on top of the plastic sheeting to either hold it down or just you know keep it there as temporary storage until this process is done.

Then after four to six weeks and if you’re in a cooler climate I would say err on the side of eight weeks, go ahead and pull this plastic sheeting out and your soil is ready to plant!

Soil Solarization Quick Steps/Recap:

Alright so as I just covered, we’re going through the process soil solarization in our garden we’ve had a pretty widespread nematode problem across almost all of our areas of our
garden bed as just shown with that carrot I pulled out and what we’re gonna be doing is leaving these tarps on here for a couple of weeks to really ‘cook’ our garden soil and get rid of the nematode problem.

So if you’re having a similar issue go ahead through this process. You go and remove all the vegetation from your garden bed’s area, run your Garden Grids™ for about 30 minutes to really, really moisten your soil, then cover it with a
plastic sheeting (1-4 MM thick) that you will want to tuck into the sides of your garden bed
to really encapsulate everything, then go ahead and either lay your Garden Grid™ back on top to hold the sheeting down further or put it aside for the next couple of weeks while this process undergoes. After four to six weeks and if you’re in a cooler area of the U.S. I would say eight weeks, go ahead and remove this plastic sheeting and you’re ready to plant your plants!

Alright that’s it, we’ll keep you updated on how our soil solarization process goes and we’ll see you next time!

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