General Discussion:

?used potting soil

Messages posted to thread:

GailE.19-Sep-02 09:15 PM EST
Susan19-Sep-02 09:22 PM EST 6a   
Em19-Sep-02 11:46 PM EST 1b   
JoanneS20-Sep-02 03:58 PM EST 3a   
DAVE20-Sep-02 09:52 PM EST   
Rocks20-Sep-02 10:32 PM EST 6b   
Ed21-Sep-02 08:44 AM EST 5a   
William Creed22-Sep-02 11:39 AM EST   
Gail22-Sep-02 09:16 PM EST 2a   
Debbie24-Sep-02 12:12 PM EST 7b   
Ed24-Sep-02 09:07 PM EST 5a   
dawn24-Sep-02 09:45 PM EST 3   

Subject: ?used potting soil
From: GailE.
Date: 19-Sep-02 09:15 PM EST

I know this falls into the stupid question category, but for years I have simply incorporated soil from pots into the flowerbeds on the assumption that it would lighten what is after all a heavy clay based top soil - yes I also have over the years added peat, compost, u-name-it to this same soil but I figured more of this lighter mixture couldn't hurt, and anyway it has lately had remains of slow release fertilizers in it, and it all costs $$$$, and it rots my socks to just throw it away. (Whoooeeee!!!! -glad I got that off my chest.) I also have lots of proplems with the whole problem of disappearing peat bogs, etc - oh and I also sometimes put it into the composter. But I recently met someone who always just garbages it on the assumption that 1.) it may be diseased after use, or 2.) it is only good for one use, or 3.)pots are all it is good for, not open beds. After a long talk we agreed to disagree but it made me wonder - what do you wonderful people do with this material?

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 19-Sep-02 09:22 PM EST

Unless what was growing in it was obviously diseased, like you I either add it to the compost heap or dump it on the garden beds to be worked into the soil. If I suspect the presence of nasty fungus or something, I'll throw it out but otherwise I figure there's no reason not to use it...

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: Em
Zone: 1b
Date: 19-Sep-02 11:46 PM EST

Gail, I've just been re-using the soil in my pots. I pull out the plants and compost them, then dump any soil into large plastic garbage containers. Of course I always have to buy more, but it cuts down on the amount I need. I've been doing this for years with no problems.

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: JoanneS (
Zone: 3a
Date: 20-Sep-02 03:58 PM EST

Hi, I dump the old soil into my flower beds as well. The old vegetation can't hurt, and yeah, why not - unless it has some kind of disease, how could it possibly be bad to do this?

You wouldn't want to use it in pots a second year, as most of the nutrients would be depleted, but in your garden - sure.

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: DAVE
Date: 20-Sep-02 09:52 PM EST

Like Em, I too reuse potting soil. I remove the plants after the first frost and store the pots behind my shed. In the spring I top up with new soil when replanting. I have about 15 pots, some quite large and it would be incredibly expensive and time consuming to refill them each year. I believe, there are little or no nutrients in potting soil, so the fertilizer you add (liquid and slow release) is all the plants need to thrive. While doing this for several years, I've never had a problem with disease. It makes it so much easier to do and so much less expensive, I can't imagine refilling all my planters each year or that the plants would do any better.

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: Rocks
Zone: 6b
Date: 20-Sep-02 10:32 PM EST

I too reuse the soil from my pots from year to year. Saves mucho $$ for sure. After a killing frost, I cut off the plant at dirt level, then empty the pot over a grate that I put over the opening of a huge plastic storage container. I sift out the roots and such through the grate, and what I have left is just like new potting soil...nice and fluffy. I store the container in the garage for the winter. In the spring, I mix in a handful of compost to each pot as I plant it up. It's worked great for me, and I have the added bonus of volunteer plants from last year that pop up from the seeds that have fallen into the soil from the year before. I transplant them as they pop up, and it's great. I haven't bought an alyssum or lobelia in a couple of years, and I think I'll probably get some waves popping up next year too. And I haven't had a problem with disease or bugs either.

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: Ed
Zone: 5a
Date: 21-Sep-02 08:44 AM EST

Over 20 yrs ago, as a member of our village Chamber of Commerce, I was involved in inroducing half barrel planters to decorate Main St. each summer. To facilitate snow clearance, these were removed each fall and stored in the open until the following spring. For over 10 years, topsoil amended with peat moss and vermiculite and, of course, fertilizer was the planting medium that was recycled year after year with no adverse effect other than an increasing weed problem. The barrels have since been replaced with much smaller concrete urns, using pro-mix as the planting medium; this, too, is being recycled and so far, no problem. During the barrel era, the larger size allowed for much more spectacular arrangements, they did not require as frequent watering and with holes drilled in the bottom, drainage was no problem. The concrete urns must be emptied each spring to assure the single, small drainage hole is unblocked before it is refilled with the previously used medium. Space at the top to admit water, and sloping container sides limits the amount of planting medium that can be used and consequently the number and size of plants that can be used. Still quite heavy, they are far more easily moved than the cumbersome half barrels. Seems to be a compromise; what is gained in one is lost in the other. p.s., Yes, we do not hesitate to use unwanted soil or other previously used planting medium from containers on our frower beds

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: William Creed
Date: 22-Sep-02 11:39 AM EST

Hi Gail,

Your information source is misinformed or perhaps, just confused. Used potting soil can be used outside without a problem. However, it is not a good idea to reuse indoor potting mixes with other indoor potted plants.

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: Gail
Zone: 2a
Date: 22-Sep-02 09:16 PM EST

I have not reused the old potting soil either. I use to it top up the flower beds. Winter storage of flower pots & potting supplies is a space problem for me and so I have started fresh every spring.

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: Debbie
Zone: 7b
Date: 24-Sep-02 12:12 PM EST

Hey..good luck with saving your potting soil.I've had no luck whatsoever with the procedure.Either there are too many roots from the previous plants,or the bugs hit....have fun trying!!

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: Ed
Zone: 5a
Date: 24-Sep-02 09:07 PM EST

Debbie, Roots from the previous plants are absolutely harmless when worked into the soil mix. Consider as additional humus; accentuate the positive !!!

Subject: RE: ?used potting soil
From: dawn
Zone: 3
Date: 24-Sep-02 09:45 PM EST

What I do, is in the fall, I lay down some landscape fabric in my vegetable garden and dump the soil from my pots on it. It usually comes out in one piece as there are so many roots holding the soil together. Over the winter the frost breaks up the soil and in the spring I have soil that crumbles away from the roots. The frost works wonder! Once I've picked all the roots out, I toss them in the compost and simply top up the pots with a bit more compost and soilless potting mix. Judging on how my flowers do in the pots, I may reuse again another year or toss it in the compost at the end of the year.

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