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Author Topic: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?  (Read 769 times)

smartdriver

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Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« on: June 12, 2018, 04:02:37 PM »
As some may know Iím working on my back yard after 10 years of domancy dirt. I found that City of LA provides soil to the resident of LA for free but it comes from different scources so not organic. I saw another gentleman there loading some soil and ask how he uses it, he said I can mix it up into my existing soil really good and it will turn into soil.

Iím woronding should I take the risk for my exotic pants( ie:passion fruit plant, Logan, atymoya)  or use it only on my misc plants (ie: mint, bamboo, green onion, non bearing fruit plants)?

Here are some photos. Also found the site from the city.
https://www.lacitysan.org/san/faces/home/portal/s-lsh-wwd/s-lsh-wwd-s/s-lsh-wwd-s-gw/s-lsh-wwd-s-gw-ycp
 








« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 08:47:14 PM by smartdriver »

smartdriver

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 04:05:29 PM »
My current soil.










vincenton

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 04:18:57 PM »
Hello,

   The stuff in your first picture look like wood chips? those I would put on top of my soil, but would not mixed into the soil. I use the wood chip from LA as ground cover in place of what use to be grass in my yard.

What location is that?

Vincent.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 04:28:10 PM by vincenton »

ricshaw

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 04:39:34 PM »
It looks like you are talking about compost from recycled waste which should be better than most soil found in Los Angeles.

spaugh

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2018, 04:48:50 PM »
Yeah it looks like greenery recycled yard waste compost.  Absolutly good stuff.  I use truck loads of the stuff.

 To be honest your soil looks pretty decent.  Is the soil pretty easy to dig when wet?  Drains ok?  Looks like decomposed granite or sandy loam type stuff which plants love.

  I would just top dress the soil with an inch or 2 of the free compost and then get their free mulch or wood chips and top dress on top of the compost.  Once you start watering the worms will show up and work it into the soil for you and take care of things.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 04:52:06 PM by spaugh »
Brad Spaugh

smartdriver

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2018, 07:24:49 PM »
Yeah it looks like greenery recycled yard waste compost.  Absolutly good stuff.  I use truck loads of the stuff.

 To be honest your soil looks pretty decent.  Is the soil pretty easy to dig when wet?  Drains ok?  Looks like decomposed granite or sandy loam type stuff which plants love.

  I would just top dress the soil with an inch or 2 of the free compost and then get their free mulch or wood chips and top dress on top of the compost.  Once you start watering the worms will show up and work it into the soil for you and take care of things.


The water is not easily absorbing right now since it's been sitting and covered with sheets of wood, but it's easily to dig(should I dig up the dirt and turn it to losses up soil?) not rocky but someone managed to throw so aquarium gravel on one area.

I've never remember my parents growing anything in the back besides Winter Melons. The melons grew to good size, so I guess I can grow some things in my backyard.  While cleaning up, I see buckets of dirt in the back which my parents had taken from friends and family because they think our dirt at home isn't good. I guess I just have to add some compost and should be good to go? How about worm castings and some people use sand? or rock dust? epson salt? even Charcoal?

Appreciate the help!

I found a place close enough for a drive. Anyone recommend and use these companies before?
http://whittierfertilizer.com/product/topsoil-for-landscaping/
http://www.calblendsoils.com/product-list.html
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 08:43:18 PM by smartdriver »

pineislander

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2018, 08:13:40 AM »
Your first two pics are green waste mulch. Do not put in soil it is very good to use but only on top of soil. If mixed into soil it will tie-up nutrients in the soil. The Topgro compost produced by the city is made with a mix of sewage biosolids and green waste composted together and decomposed, it should improve soil if mixed but probably less than a 50/50 mix. You could use compost as mulch also. 

fyliu

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 10:49:22 AM »
I think just lots and lots of compost is good. Maybe get bags of cheap cow manure from Home Depot or Lowes or similar places. Manure is basically compost, but digested by the cow rather than bacteria. This is going to help the most for soil. Other stuff like epsom salt you don't necessarily need, but people get obsessed and want to spend more money.

That city "compost" you got is actually mulch made from green bin materials. It takes some time to break down. They do have mulch at the place on Mission on Thursdays I think, but there are people with trucks that shovel it up pretty fast and sell it. If you go on Friday, a lot of times there's nothing left. The compost is good if you can get it.

Just mix the compost into the soil a little bit and plant in it. Cover with mulch to retain water longer. It does take some work to make the water absorb into it in the beginning. Grow fast-growing veggies and cover crops until you figure out what to do with the land. Better if they have deep roots and/or make a lot of roots. Dead roots add organic matter to the soil really well. Beans fix nitrogen and you can then bury the plants in the garden to add organic matter. I never had much success with compost bins in this dry climate. Burying and planting on top works for me.

mangomanic12

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2018, 11:05:41 AM »
Hi Smart driver ...

1. DO NOT MIX ANYTHING INTO YOUR SOIL
2. Place 6 or so inches of compost on top of your native soil ..or whatever amount you can get
3. Place 6-12 in of woodchips on top of that...or whatever amount you can get
4. Place a sprinkler on top of all this and soak for 40 min to 1 hr weekly or every other week, this provides instant compost tea to soil .
5. Add leaves / grass clippings and keep layering on top of all this monthly
6. Continue to soak all this monthly
7. Plant in 6 months in soft fertile moist soil.

Hope that helps, that's how I improve my soil here in AZ ... 112 DEGREES TODAY!!!!

fyliu

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2018, 11:19:01 AM »
Hope that helps, that's how I improve my soil here in AZ ... 112 DEGREES TODAY!!!!
That's really hot! It's been pretty hot over here lately (above 90), but it's going back to 70 this weekend. You get more rain than we do in California though.

Anyway, smartdriver, do put down seeds to grow something so you're not wasting that expensive water just wetting the soil for 6 months.

barath

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2018, 05:19:31 PM »
I remember reading that the stuff they give away at Griffith Park is a mix of decomposed green waste, animal manure from the zoo, and wood chips.  (Not sure if it's the same as what you got.)

vincenton

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2018, 06:19:20 PM »
They have different stuff, some are what you said. Those in this thread are tree waste mulch. You can tell by looking at them they still have some big chunk of wood chip on them. I got some in the past to cover over my grass that I no longer want to water.

Vincent.

fyliu

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2018, 06:46:04 PM »
If it has paper shreds and doritos wrappers in it, it's green bin mulch. People put regular trash in them and there's often dog and cat poop in there and it's very lightly or not composted. If it has coarser pieces but no trash, it's chipped stuff from places like Griffith Park. It tends to smell nice. If it's fine and black and doesn't smell much, it's well-composted compost from Griffith Park. If it's black but has large pieces, it's also compost but not as broken down and it smells pretty bad. All are useful and you don't know what will be there when you show up. I guess anything's better than showing up and nothing's there. I keep hoping to get the fine compost, since my city already delivers wood chips to me for free.

smartdriver

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2018, 11:03:15 PM »
Thank you everyone for your help. I'm appreciative for the info and will have to consider my budget and possibly take city soil or start small organic planter box. The Whittier Fertilizer guy said to mix (organic mix 50/50 original soil) and 16/16/16 fertilizer has a starter.

I went to Whittier Fertilizer to check out cost:
"Organic Flower and Veg Mix" is $48 per yard.
"Planter Mix" is $33 per yard
"Planter Box Mix" also $33 per yard.

16-16-16 Fertilizer $31.40

Costco "had" Miracle Grow organic potting mix back in March for $9.99 for 55 quart = 1.8 cubic feet. hella of a deal, but they sold out. Don't think they will have anymore.











« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 12:19:27 AM by smartdriver »

barath

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2018, 11:27:05 PM »
I think your best bet is still to get tree trimmings for free from local arborists and just dump a huge layer of that.  After about 6 months it'll decompose into really good soil for trees.  You can always add coffee grounds, manure, compost, and other things on top and as you water them they'll filter down and mix with the tree trimmings.

smartdriver

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2018, 11:56:16 PM »
I think your best bet is still to get tree trimmings for free from local arborists and just dump a huge layer of that.  After about 6 months it'll decompose into really good soil for trees.  You can always add coffee grounds, manure, compost, and other things on top and as you water them they'll filter down and mix with the tree trimmings.

Got it. Iíll be stalking that City mulch and try to find some premium top soil.

fyliu

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2018, 11:57:58 PM »
Thank you everyone for your help. I'm appreciative for the info and will have to consider my budget and possibly take city soil or start small organic planter box. The Whittier Fertilizer guy said to mix (organic mix 50/50 original soil) and 16/16/16 fertilizer has a starter.

I went to Whittier Fertilizer to check out cost:
"Organic Flower and Veg Mix" is $48 per cubic yard.
"Planter Mix" is $33 per cubic yard
"Planter Box Mix" also $33 per cubic yard.

16-16-16 Fertilizer $31.40

Costco "had" Miracle Grow organic potting mix back in March for $9.99 for 55 quart = 1.8 Cubic yard. hella of a deal, but they sold out. Don't think they will have anymore.
55 quart = 1.8 cubic feet
1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet
You need 15 of those Costco bags to get a cubic yard, so $150.

smartdriver

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2018, 12:15:18 AM »
Thank you everyone for your help. I'm appreciative for the info and will have to consider my budget and possibly take city soil or start small organic planter box. The Whittier Fertilizer guy said to mix (organic mix 50/50 original soil) and 16/16/16 fertilizer has a starter.

I went to Whittier Fertilizer to check out cost:
"Organic Flower and Veg Mix" is $48 per cubic yard.
"Planter Mix" is $33 per cubic yard
"Planter Box Mix" also $33 per cubic yard.

16-16-16 Fertilizer $31.40

Costco "had" Miracle Grow organic potting mix back in March for $9.99 for 55 quart = 1.8 Cubic yard. hella of a deal, but they sold out. Don't think they will have anymore.
55 quart = 1.8 cubic feet
1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet
You need 15 of those Costco bags to get a cubic yard, so $150.



Modified*
Thank you for the corrrction fyliu  😄

1 yard = ?
What does it mean in the price board in the photo?


« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 08:13:05 AM by smartdriver »

fyliu

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2018, 09:22:06 AM »
I think they do mean cubic yard.

BajaJohn

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2018, 09:38:35 AM »
Normally 1 cu yard is a yard cube = 27 cu ft. A little smaller than 1 cu meter and, depending on material weighs around 1 ton, although lighter materials will be much less. http://www.dansdirtandgravel.com/material_calculator.htm

CA Hockey

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2018, 01:09:51 PM »
1 yard = 3 ft

1 Square yard = 3 ft x 3 ft = 9 sq ft

1 cubic yard = 3 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft = 27 cubic ft



smartdriver

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2018, 10:49:24 PM »
1 yard = 3 ft

1 Square yard = 3 ft x 3 ft = 9 sq ft

1 cubic yard = 3 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft = 27 cubic ft

Ahhhhh.... finally clarified. Thank you CA Hockey
Thanks Lyliu
Thanks BajaJohn

smartdriver

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Re: Top soil from City of Los Angeles.... safe to use?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2018, 10:51:15 PM »

1 yard = 3 ft

1 Square yard = 3 ft x 3 ft = 9 sq ft

1 cubic yard = 3 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft = 27 cubic ft

Ahhhhh.... finally clarified. Thank you CA Hockey
Thanks fyliu
Thanks BajaJohn
Thanks barath
Thanks vincenton
Thanks mangomanic12
Thanks pineislander
Thanks ricshaw
Thanks spaugh
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 10:55:52 PM by smartdriver »

 

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