soil - Knowledgebase Question

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Question by craigchestn
August 21, 2010
Due to where I live I have to do my growing in pots. I have tomato plants, pepper plants and a variety of flowers. As the end of this season draws near and as those plants die, I am thinking of what I can do to my old potting soil for use in the next year. i have quitew a bit of it and don't really want to discard it, but at the same time don't want to put new plants next year in bad soil?

Answer from NGA
August 21, 2010
You don't need to discard the soil. If your tomato and pepper plants, and your flowers remained disease free this year, you can reuse the soil. The only concern with not rotating crops is that diseased plants can deposit disease pathogens into the soil which can survive the winter months and be ready to attack your plants the following year. If your plants remained healthy all season long, no pathogens will be in the potting soil and you can reuse it again next year. If your tomato and pepper plants did develop diseases you can still reuse the potting soil - just not for growing tomatoes and peppers. Use it instead for flowers. Hope this clarifies things for you. Just as a side note - I do a lot of container gardening and every 2-3 years I empty the pots, mix in some fresh potting soil, and refill the containers. I've never had a problem with overwintering insects or diseases. I think you'll have similar results.

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