Categories
BLOG

can you reuse potting soil from last year

Can you reuse potting soil the next year?

Correspondingly, can you reuse potting soil year after year?

Reusing last year’s potting soil is a money-saver, but may require a nutritional pick-me-up. Reusing last year’s potting soil is a money-saver, but may require a nutritional pick-me-up. When it comes to container gardening, dirt cheap may not feel like a bargain.

Beside above, do I need to change potting soil every year? Plants soak up everything that’s in their potting soil, including any chemicals or pesticides. Therefore, experts recommend washing the chemicals from the soil, also known as leaching, and replacing it every year before planting something new.

Similarly, can you reuse potting soil from your containers?

Ways to Reuse Potting Soil Simply remove old plants from their containers, fluff up the soil and replant. If you‘ve reused the same soil for several years or it’s developed a white surface crust, you may have to cut it with 50 percent new potting soil and/or apply fertilizer.

Does bagged potting soil go bad?

Age and improper storage degrade potting soil. The useful life of potting soil depends on whether or not it is currently in use. Unused potting soil lasts roughly six months before it degrades in quality, while used potting soil should be replaced every year or two.

With thoughtful handling, you can reuse potting soil in next year’s containers, or use it to solve other gardening problems. The first step is to let used potting soil dry out, either in pots or dumped into a wheelbarrow or onto a tarp.

Reusing Potting Soil

Related To:

Potting Soil

Reusing last year’s potting soil is a money-saver, but may require a nutritional pick-me-up.

When it comes to container gardening, dirt cheap may not feel like a bargain. The term “potting soil” is a bit of a misnomer, as it usually doesn’t have much actual soil in it. Instead, this mix of peat, vermiculite and composted matter is engineered to offer a lightweight alternative that provides good nutrition and water retention while still giving roots room to develop in limited space. Using potting soil is an extremely effective medium for container gardening, but can be expensive. As nutrition is leached from this “soil” throughout the growing season, by year’s end the mineral-rich potting medium may not have much left to offer hungry plants. Buying new potting soil each year guarantees a healthy medium, but can be a costly endeavor, especially for those who rely on container gardening for the bulk of their yearly crops. Is it necessary to replace potting soil every year?

If disease was a problem last year, using the same potting soil can be a recipe for disaster. Viruses, bacteria and fungi will live on in the potting medium long after the plants have withered away. While it may be possible to destroy these lurking pathogens, it’s not worth the risk. Sometimes starting withfresh potting soil is the best option, but if last year’s plants did well, there may be a little life left in that potting soil. With careful attention and a little effort, potting soil can be reused, saving the intrepid grower a few bucks along the way. If you have determined that disease will not be an issue, preparing used potting soil for safe and effective use is an easy way to cut back on the gardening budget without sacrificing yield.

Pasteurize. Even in pots with healthy plants, weeds, insects or mild pathogens may be living in potting soil that has been previously exposed to the elements. Soil pasteurization can help. Baking in a 200 degree oven or microwaving will safely sterilize soil, but can emit an unpleasant odor and over-drying may impact its ability to adequately retain water. Solarization will offer the same results without the hassle. To solarize container soil, place in a black plastic bag or in covered five-gallons buckets and place in a sunny location for four to six weeks to kill off these unwelcome elements and prepare the soil for new plants.

Revitalize. Last year’s potting soil may look ready to re-use, but odds are much of the nutritional value leached away on its first go around. Replenish lost nutrients by adding slow-release fertilizers, vermiculite or compost. Because compost is dense, it can lead to compaction and should be used judiciously (a ratio of one part compost to three to four parts potting soil is most effective). In some cases, revitalized potting soil can be used exclusively, but blending old soil with fresh in equal parts is a safe way to ensure productive density and nutritional balance.

Reusing potting soil is a money-saver, but nutrition loss can be a concern even when revitalized. When reusing soil, rotate plants to maximize the value of the medium and consider using the recycled soil for plants that do not require rich soil to thrive.

If proper steps are taken, there are ways to save money and reuse potting soil say the experts at HGTV.