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LSU Garden News: How to Reuse Potting Soil | Entertainment & Life

Being conservative is not a bad idea. Whether you’re talking about environmental protection or being financially conservative, as a gardener there are decisions you can make to save money and resources.

One way to do that is to reuse potting soil. Today, many home gardeners grow annuals, herbs, and vegetables in containers and are productive, but these plants complete their life cycle in his one year. If the plant is healthy and just dies at the end of its life cycle, the pot and substrate can be reused to replant the next season’s plants.


Remove dead plants and large roots from used media, refresh and reuse with new media or soil conditioner.

When it comes time to clean and store the pot, you need to do something with the used soil. First, the soil can easily be used to fill holes in the garden or to fill landscape beds and other potted plants. increase.

Some people warn against reusing soil, and for good reason. If your plants die from bacterial, fungal, or viral diseases, you definitely don’t want to reuse the soil because soil-borne pathogens may still be present and active. If the plants that previously grew in that soil were healthy, it’s usually okay to reuse potting soil.

One way to make sure the soil is clean is to sterilize it. There are several ways to do that. One is to solarize the soil in the sun and the other is to heat it in an oven or microwave.

Start by removing dead plants, dumping used potting soil into a bin, tidying up large roots, and catching bugs and insects. If you want to sterilize the soil in the sun, discard it in a sturdy plastic bag or plastic container with a lid. Seal the bag or bucket and leave it in the sun for 4 to 6 weeks.

Solar heat kills pathogens in the soil. Heat also increases the rate of soil decomposition. Therefore, adding compost or another type of soil conditioner that can replenish organic matter is recommended.

The second method is to heat the soil in the oven. Keep this in mind as this can make your home smell earthy. Be sure to remove the worms and place the soil in an oven-safe pot and cover with foil. Bake at 175-200 F for 30 minutes. He can also microwave 2 pounds of dirt in a microwaveable container at full power for 90 seconds.

Now that the soil is sterile, it can be used again. Nutrients depleted during the sterilization process should be replenished. To do this, add compost and other soil conditioners.

Here’s a quick list of common soil conditioners you’ll find at your local nursery or garden center.

In addition to replacing organic matter, you can increase the potting medium by adding new potting medium in a 1:3 ratio (1 new to 3 old). Additionally, old media can be updated with sphagnum moss, which is coarser in texture, has good air permeability, and holds water well, but should be added sparingly.

You can add sand for better drainage and aeration, but use sparingly as sand can make the container heavy. Perlite is another soil amendment that provides good drainage and is lighter than sand. Finally, vermiculite can be used to improve soil aeration, nutrients and water holding capacity.

Reusing potting soil gives the term dirt cheap a new meaning. There are many options for reusing potting soil. Save a few bucks and buy more plants.

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