If you’re curious about how to dispose of potting soil, the single answer to this is upcycling. Contrary to most people’s beliefs, disposing potting soil does not literally have to mean throwing them. Proper cleanliness is vital for greenhouses and gardens to ensure that your plants will face no problems, but gardening materials like used potting soil can still be useful.
Nowadays, gardeners have many resources for various DIY projects that can help them improve their growing experiences. Different extensions even provide tips and tricks in making potting media, to name an example. With the information below, you should be able to make the most of your used potting soil.
Do This Instead Of Disposing Used Potting Soil
Perhaps it’s easy to assume that you can simply put your old potting soil in the garbage or compost bins. However, the best way to dispose of them doesn’t literally mean disposal. Instead, consider upcycling your used potting soil and have a more productive garden that’s also beneficial for your plants.
Add back volume
When upcycling old potting soil, you have to add back its volume that’s lost over time. This involves adding fillers and materials that can improve the drainage capacity of the soil. These can range from rice hulls, perlite, peat moss, or coir fiber.
You can also add kelp meal, fish meal, or alfalfa meal to further help the soil’s structure. The ingredients mentioned improve the soil’s fertility so that it will be as useful next time. Once you are happy with the volume, know how to add microbes back to the soil.
Add back microbes
Besides improving the volume of the used potting soil, you want to add back microbes for optimal fertility and avoid deficiencies. Remember that microbes help potting soils because they digest organic matter into the perfect plant food, humus. But how do you add back these beneficial microbes?
You can buy compost or make them yourself using diverse natural sources. However, it’s not enough to depend on the soil microbes to ensure mineral balance in the potting soil you upcycled. You have to test it as well to make amendments if needed.
Add back minerals
Ensuring mineral balance also secures that the soil pH will always be within the ideal range. You can always add fertilizers to boost your potting soil, but you want to remember to use organic products. Otherwise, they won’t be beneficial for the microbes, and you also increase the risk of having salty soil damaging to plants.
Otherwise, you can always upcycle potting soil in other ways. You can work them into gardens and flower beds or use them to fill holes in your areas. However, be mindful of the risks when reusing potting soil.
You want to pasteurize them before using to kill harmful elements. To do this, place bags filled with potting soil in the sun, but never risk reusing potting soil where a diseased plant was previously in.
How To Save Potting Soil
You can reuse potting soil in spring by mixing it with a new mix at a 50:50 ratio. However, don’t forget to add compost or slow-release fertilizer to ensure that the medium is optimal for plans. You also want to break up the old potting soil before using it, as it can get dry and compacted over time.
This way, the roots can grow easily from the recycled mix. More so, ensure no debris or insects in the potting soil before storing it in winter somewhere protected.
What To Remember When Recycling Potting Soil
Proper plant disposal
It will be easier to remove the plants from the soil if you let them die entirely from the containers. Shake the dead plants to remove the potting soil stuck to the root system and discard the plants on your compost pile. Their decomposition makes an excellent addition for use some time.
Soil collection and amendments
Pour the soil and remove debris by hand or by sifting through a screen. You can then add peat moss, perlite, and compost to the old potting soil to restore nutrients and structure. Mix the potting soil thoroughly before baking it to get rid of pathogens.
Baking the soil
Place the soil on a baking tray and cover with aluminum foil before baking it for half an hour. This should kill pathogens and other harmful organisms left in the soil. Be mindful not to get the soil too hot as this can lead to plant toxins.
Cool the soil and test it to know its pH level. You can make the necessary amendments to adjust the pH level to the ideal one for your plants. Then, place the soil in a sealed plastic container and into a cool, dry place for storage.
If your potting soil previously held a diseased plant, please throw it properly to avoid the spread. However, you can also learn how to dispose of potting soil, so you don’t treat it as unusable trash. If it didn’t harbor pathogens, you can pasteurize the soil in the sun and store it in winter for use in spring.
Before using the old potting soil, you must also know how to upcycle it. This includes adding volume, microbes, and minerals back to the soil so that it’s still optimal for plant growth and health. Otherwise, you can work it in the garden, flower bed, or use the old soil as filler in the backyard.