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Garden soil need to be replaced?

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 21st, 2022 1:32 pm
Jul 13, 2008
62 posts

Garden soil need to be replaced?

My neighbour's house burned down during the winter. The roof collapsed and the first and second floor were severely fire damaged and the house ended up being torn down. I live a few houses down from the house and I was wondering with all the ash from the fire, if I should replace the garden soil, since I normally plant a vegetable garden. Would it be take away the top few inches of soil and replace it with new soil, or will it just be fine?
5 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 13, 2008
6535 posts
I flip my soil before winter.

After the snow melts and the garden is soft ... I flip again.

2 weeks prior to planting ... I dig out enough soil for 4 bags of triple mix and 2 bags of cattle manure.

The soil that I dig out ... with all its nutrients ... I toss on to the grass ...

I do this annually regardless
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Sr. Member
Nov 10, 2019
661 posts
Although natural ash is generally beneficial to the garden, not sure about ash from a house with varying types of materials included in there. Personally I would change a few inches
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2008
1595 posts
I wouldn't plant food for a year. Flowers would be ok
Last edited by xxxray on Mar 21st, 2022 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2015
3160 posts
Calgary, AB
If it burned down during the winter can’t you scrape the dirty snow off and dispose of it. How much ash was there? Inches of just a few flakes?

Unless we’re talking inches at best I’d just scrape off the top inch or so, worst I’d just plant like normal.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
20911 posts
Vancouver, BC
Realistically, it depends on the level of contamination in the ashes and how much of it leached into the soil and how far it got into the soil. Given the fact Winter snow and rain basically run pretty deep into the soil as it melts, I doubt that the first few inches would be enough if you are afraid of contamination. I would think that any contamination would go much deeper than you are thinking. However, that may also mean that the concentration of the contamination is also lower than what you might think as well.

If you are so concerned, the best bet may be to remove the root depth of soil - ie whatever you plan to plant, remove as much soil as needed so that the plant roots don't touch any potentially contaminated soil.


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