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Can potting


soil be reused? By Trisha Gedon


ing enthusiasts are making plans for their spring and summer gardens.


W


With consumers facing ris- ing costs in just about every area of their lives, some gar- deners may wonder if it is OK to reuse potting soil.


Kim Toscano, host of Okla- homa Gardening, said general- ly there is nothing wrong with reusing potting soil.


“There are certain consider-


ations to be made when reus- ing soil,” Toscano said. “Used soil will require fertilizer ap- plications to replace nutrients that have leached from the soil or have been utilized by plants previously growing in the me- dium. Incorporating a slow- release fertilizer at the proper rate will take care of nutrition needs for several months. If you’re using a slow-release fertilizer, liquid fertilizer isn’t necessary.”


Toscano also cautioned about the buildup of salts in the soil. Excessive levels of salts can be detrimental to plant de- velopment.


Commercial potting soils


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have agents added to the mix that help the potting soil take up and hold water. These agents break down over time. Likewise, peat and other or- ganic agents mixed into soils for the same purpose of hold- ing water, decompose over time. As such, older soils tend not to hold water as well and often appear “compacted.” This could be addressed by mixing new and used potting soils together, adding organic matter to the potting soil or adding a water-holding agent. Another option is to add your used potting soil to your compost pile.


“If insects, disease or weed seeds are a concern, pasteurize your soil and compost in your oven,” Toscano. “It’s particu- larly important to pasteurize potting soil that will be used to start seeds. Simply bake moist- ened soil at 180°F for at least 30 minutes.” OL


ith warm tempera- tures on the hori- zon, many garden-


All prices and promotions are BME-SRP. *Offer good through 6/30/12 at participating dealers while supplies last. © 2012 STIHL BME12-2OL22-101241-1


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