Reclaiming a former garden for Edible Herbs - Knowledgebase Question

Slidell, Lo
Question by travelsquirr
January 23, 2011
I am reclaiming an established garden that has an old philodendron (not doing well) and hibiscus shrubs, and looking to make the bed an edible herb garden. Would it be safe to use the current soil for my edible herbs, or should I remove a few inches of dirt and replace it with fresh organic soil? Thanks!


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Answer from NGA
January 23, 2011

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You can plant your herbs in the bed after removing the philodendron and its roots. They won't taint the soil - only the leaves and stems are poisonous if eaten but the fruit of the philodendron is edible (go figure!). Still, it is a good idea to spread a few inches of compost or other organic matter over the cleared bed and dig it in to a depth of 8-10 inches. The compost will help the soil drain well, will hold the right amount of moisture, and will release nutrients as it breaks down. I prepare all my planting beds in this way prior to planting. Best wishes with your yummy herbs!

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