0xDeadBeef

What can I do with my old soil?

Just dug up and threw out my old cherry tomato plants from the pots out on my balcony and was wondering something. What can/should I do with the 'old' soil ?

Can it simply be left the way it is, and re-planted in next year? Or is there some sort of conditioning I need to do (ie. add fertalizer, throw some worms in there, etc. etc.)?

Or should I find a place to dump it, and buy some new soil ?

Any tips/advice are greatly appreciated (thanks in advance) - as I am very new to this sort of thing.

~ Adam

The Helpful Gardener
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Hey Adam,

I'm sort of mixed on my response to this issue myself. There's the Connecticut Yankee in me that wants to save and reuse everything, and then there's the cautious gardener that wants to eliminate potential problems where ever they may arise.

If you had a composter then I might feel okay about telling you to save that stuff and composting it for use later, but the word balcony denotes apartment living to me (am I right?), and a composter on the balcony lacks ambiance (it also means there wouldn't be a lot of space to use compost).

Simply saving and reusing the soil leaves the potential for any soil borne disease to increase exponentially year to year; I think that outweighs any economic consideration. Buy the soil every year;new fertility, far lesser chances of disease and less compaction make it the better deal...


Scott

Lash

I can't imagine changing potting mix every year. ... but I can see why but every year? I'd feel guilty if I it threw away... its not hard to sanitise - and without harmful chemicals etc! . Just whack your spent pottin mix into a bucket/vessel of some sort and pour boiling water over the lot and mix this with your new potting soil even better use compost.

Guest

Lash,

Been there done that with the boiling water and lost every seedling I planted. Not the best idea. You could bake it in the oven, but you'd have to air out the house for too many hours.

Newt

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Thanks Newt! (always good to have support from the cognescenti)

Where ya been? Missed you... :)

Scott

Maureen Crawford
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:42 pm
Location: Summerland

Thanks for the tips. I wanted to know if I could reuse the potting soil in my planters (plastic and metal type tubs). One answer I got locally was to remove the top 4 inches as that is as far as most of my bedding plants roots would go down to use up the good stuff in the potting soil.

????? My reaction is okay but I don't want to lose any of my new potting plants to disease. Any other ideas out there. Thanks from Summerland, B.C. Canada
Maureen Crawford

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Posts: 7493
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Location: Colchester, CT

Newt's right; the only sure way is to bring it up to temperature and hold it there.

After it's sat for a winter you have NO idea who has taken up residence; often soggy lifeless soil gets colonized by bad guys who like mucky, cool, soils to start. Give them some warmer temps and KA-BLOOM! the fungus bomb goes off and you lose the shootin' match (just ask Newt).

Sunlight does a great job of sterilizing, if you can spread it thin and turn it a few times over the course of a week (assuming SOME sun) you should be good...

Scott

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