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Soil quality (under the parking lot)

10 months ago

Hi all, I posted a few weeks ago about converting a bus parking lot into an orchard.
We got a few quotes to scrape off the top layer of soil. They came back high! That, plus the cost of new soil, is completely out of budget for us. We have to pick one or the other.
Meanwhile we dug a hole in the gravel to see what we are working with. I have attached photos. It's not as bad as I thought it would be! Frankly it's no different from the quality of soil in the rest of the yard where there is lawn planted (the entire area is just fill dirt mixed with gravel) there are three mango trees and a coconut tree growing happily in this soil so I'm assuming it's not the end of the world if we don't remove it...? My only concern is going to all this expense and effort and then watching the trees fail to thrive.
We talked to our neighbor who has an orchard himself, and he instructed us to not remove any soil but instead to bring in topsoil. He recommends at least two feet. This is due to the quality of the existing soil but also due to how marshy and wet the ground gets after a rain.
Next we will do a soil test to learn if the soil is contaminated. 🤞

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