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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:55 pm
Location: Hampshire

Old pots and bags of compost - can I use them?

As a gardening novice - is boiling water from the kettle OK to sterilise old terracotta and plastic pots, and flimsy seed trays etc, all of which I'm ashamed to say have been kicking around the garden since the summer?

Also, I have several 70 litre bags of all-purpose compost that I didn't use last summer for potting plants, which I'm also ashamed to say have been sat about in the garden since the summer. The bags haven't been opened. Are they OK for use with seeds and potting plants? Or should I get some new compost so it's sterile and use up the old bags out in the garden when planting established plants out?

Last year I started a bit of veg growing, just some tomatoes etc but I'd like to grow a lot more this year and don't want it all to go wrong by not paying attention to basics.

Please help! :)

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Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:47 pm
Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania

I have had a hobby greenhouse for about 30+ years and never washed/ pasteurized my pots and I have never had a problem. The unused potting soil will be fine also.


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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
Location: Oregon

I wash any stuck on dirt out with a hose. If there are heavy salt deposits, I scrub them out with a stiff brush. I don't sterilize any of my pots, even the ones I use for starting seeds.

I also have used bags of soil and compost that were left over from previous years. Never had a problem. :)

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