Ask a Question forum: Okay to use potting mix in garden beds?

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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
Oct 13, 2016 9:25 AM CST

I accidentally bought several bags of Miracle Grow potting mix instead of garden mix a while ago and it's too late to return it. I know that it's not a good idea to use garden mix in pots, but is it okay to use the potting mix in my garden beds?

I also have some old pots of soil where the plants didn't do well, but I don't think it's got much to do with the soil. Can I use the soil in my beds if I mix it with compost and booster?

Thanks in advance!
AKA Joey.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Oct 13, 2016 11:51 AM CST
I think it would be fine to use the potting mix and the old soil in your beds, as long as you thoroughly mixed it all together with the existing soil.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Photo Contest Winner: 2017
Oct 13, 2016 12:05 PM CST
I force a lot of bulbs in potting mix and always throw the used potting mix in the garden, usually mixed in but sometimes not. Garden really seems to appreciate the added potting soil.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Oct 13, 2016 4:44 PM CST
Hi Joanna

>> Can I use the soil in my beds if I mix it with compost and booster?

I do. And pre-mixing it with compost is a great move. I figure the extra loft helps my clay soil a lot, and adds organic matter. Any left-over fertilizer will first be diluted by mixing with soil, or by being spread as a thin top-dress layer, and then flushed away by our darn constant drizzle.

If you think the plant in the pot might have had a disease, you might discard that soil, or put "sick" potting soil from flowers into a veggie bed, and potting-soil-from-veggies-in-pots into a flowerbed. That way, any plant diseases will be denied hosts.

Another way to "sweeten" a mix that was in pots would be to put it into an active compost heap. By the time the compost organisms have finished eating it (and each other), it will become compost and many plant pathogens will have been mostly consumed.

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