It doesn’t matter where you have used it; there is a good chance you end up with old potting soil come to the end of the growing season or the end of a plant’s life.
New gardeners often ask, can you reuse potting soil, or do you need to discard it?
There is nothing wrong with reusing potting soil, so long as you store it correctly and prepare it for use in the spring.
In our guide, you can learn all you need about the recycling of soil. (Read Can Potting Soil Go Bad?)
Can I Reuse Soil from a Dead Plant?
If your plant dies of disease, it can contain pathogens, and use this soil to pass on these pathogens to any plant you put in this pot.
One of the best ways many gardeners kill pathogens, weed seeds, and other undesirables is to bake the soil in the oven for 30 minutes at a time.
However, if the plant died from natural causes, you can use this soil. When you want to use it, you can find the dead plant decays and add nutrients to the soil.
Bacteria and fungi help to speed up decomposition in the growing medium.
Do You Throw Away Old Potting Soil?
Reusing the last year’s growing season potting mix in this year’s container garden makes economic sense and saves trips to buy new dirt. However, fertility in used potting soil is the bare minimum when you reach the end of the growing season.
You could find there are not enough to sustain any plants. You can, however, revive your soil to make it suitable for use. Here you can see a few ways to get your soil ready for some fresh container gardening. (Read Killing Creeping Charlie With Vinegar)
In the fall, pull up dead plants and shake the roots. Should you see adults, cocoons, or egg masses that take up residence before winter, make sure to remove them before putting them in a plastic bag to keep.
When the spring arrives, break apart any clumps and spread them on a tarpaulin or a large sheet. Add fresh potting to a mix of 50 percent old to 50 percent mix of new potting soil. Blend well with a slow-release fertilizer.
You can go another way and add twenty-five percent from your garden compost pile to seventy-five percent of your old potting mix. To this, you can also add organic additives such as fish meal or worm castings. (Find the Best Soil Test Kit)
Mix everything and then add to your containers as usual.
Is It Bad to Use Old Potting Soil?
While it’s fun to grow plants in containers, it can be costly in potting soil unless you deal with the old.
It is here where you can find that with thoughtful handling, you cut your costs next year and reuse potting soil, which is used to grow again in containers next year.
You can also use it in other areas. Here are some tips about what to do with your soil. Let used potting soil dry out, be it in pots or piled into a wheelbarrow, or even dumped on a tarp.
It is easier to store empty pots and sift through the soil to remove old roots and leaves. Old potting soil needn’t be bone dry, yet it can lead to unwanted mold and microbes if it is too wet.
When storing, if you have grown vegetables, make sure to keep this separate. It can help limit disease spreading.
You can also carry out your crop rotation and use soil for flowers for your veggies next year. You can use any storage container to keep your soil dry and comprise plastic bins, garbage cans, or heavy-duty plastic bags. (Learn How Long Does Grass Seed Last)
Don’t worry about temperatures, as exposure to freezing temps is good for stored potting soil. It is another means of killing insects rather than providing the ideal conditions.
You can also toss the soil from your pot on your compost if there is too much water in it and the weather isn’t suitable for drying.
Uses for Used Potting Soil
You may wish to sue your old soil stash for something else rather than next year’s crops. (Learn How To Add Phosphorus To Soil)
It will lack nutrients, yet old potting soil still has nuggets of Perlite, thin strands of humus, and hardly any weed seeds.
You can use this as an organic way to cover newly planted carrots, beets, or other slow-sprouting seeds.
Such a topdressing of moisture-retaining potting soil can increase your seeded crops’ germination rates and with fewer weeds fighting for space. (What are the Best Types Of Soil For Gardening)
Grass seed covered with thin layers of potting soil comes up healthy, with hardly any weeds.
Use old potting soil for free giveaway plants such as sharing Asters, bee balm, or other perennials, as this is a great way and costs nothing when you add them to broken pots and old potting dirt.