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The following answers your question re beneficials and also more fully
explains what I mentioned in an earlier post about plants growing even
better in solarized soil.  The full text at the URL alludes to why you would
add compost:

 Increases in Plant Yield and Vigor
          Reasons for increased plant vigor by solarization are numerous and
complex.  Perhaps the most obvious reason why plant health would increase in
solarized soil is the removal of root-damaging organisms.  Another reason
involves the availability of soluble nutrients.  Some elements and compounds
are released from soil organic matter as decomposition increases at high
temperatures.  The removal of weeds and microorganisms that compete with the
plant for nutrient uptake is another reason for better plant growth in
solarized soil.  Once beneficial organisms recolonize the soil, they
breakdown organic molecules into plant-usable soluble compounds.  Many
phytopathogenic organisms are not well-adapted for survival in the soil.  As
a result, they are killed by solarization and are slow to rebuild
populations. Beneficials microorganisms, on the other hand, are less
affected by raised temperatures or show more rapid population growth and are
thus bountiful and available to convert many organic molecules into their
inorganic, soluble forms (Katan, 1987; Stapleton and DeVay, 1995; Gamliel
and Stapleton, 1993b).

It has been observed in many studies that plants will grow more rapidly
following either solarization or chemical fumigation techniques.  The
absence of soilborne pathogens allows plants to devote more energy to
biomass production rather than to staving off pathogen attacks or competing
with weeds.  Correct use of solarization has been noted to produce a limited
period of reduced-pathogen soil (usually lasting for about one season).
Pathogens that are suppressed include: Phytophthora cinnamomi, Pyrenochaeta
lycopersici, Verticillium dahliae, and Roselinia necatrix (Katan et al.,
1983; Kassaby, 1985; Abdel-Rahim et al., 1988; Morgan et al., 1991; Tjamos
and Paplomatas, 1988; Tjamos et al., 1991; Sztenjnberg et al., 1987).

For the complete transcript with links to details go to:


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tchessie" <tchessie@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 9:56 AM
Subject: RE: [CHAT] tomato woes

> Wow- I had no idea this was so technical.  I think the plastic I have
> is a clear drop cloth) should be fine.  In on of the links, the author
> talked about adding compost to the soil before solarizing.  This may be a
> stupid question- but wouldn't solarizing kill all the good critters in the
> compost too?  I assume not only bad things get killed for solarization,
> also good ones (I'm operating on an antibiotics theory here!).  There is
> way I can dig down a foot to bury the edges of the plastic, without
> my other 2 tomato plants- so that's out, but I certainly could dig a few
> inches and tack down the edges with some of the multitude of brick I have
> here.  We aren't that windy in summer here- so think that would be OK.
> the experiment continues!  I'm going to get this started this weekend.
> After summer is over, I'll cover the whole bed with plastic for the fall
> think that south wall and our temps will likely still make it hot enough
> help).
> Thanks so much for all the info!
> Theresa

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