Ask a Question forum→Re-using Potting Soil

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california
vanessapau
Apr 23, 2018 11:34 PM CST
Hello,

I have a container garden and I was wondering if there are any safety risks I should be aware of when reusing potting soil? I have some containers with perfectly good soil that I'd like to use for herbs or vegetables but I'm not certain what was grown in them previously. Ie flowers or plants that could potentially be toxic or not meant for consumption by people or animals. If I pull out any rooting systems in the soil, should this be fine to use?

Thank you!
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Apr 24, 2018 1:30 AM CST
vanessapau said:Hello,

I have a container garden and I was wondering if there are any safety risks I should be aware of when reusing potting soil? I have some containers with perfectly good soil that I'd like to use for herbs or vegetables but I'm not certain what was grown in them previously. Ie flowers or plants that could potentially be toxic or not meant for consumption by people or animals. If I pull out any rooting systems in the soil, should this be fine to use?

Thank you!


Basically, I make new sterile soil every year for my seedlings, mix it that with compost the next year for the container pots, and add that to the garden the third year.
Name: Christine
NY zone 5a
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Christine
Apr 24, 2018 6:25 AM CST
I use my used soil in the bottom of large pots and put new soil on top, I have never had any issues as long as there are no let over roots and its only 1 season old.

[Last edited by Christine - Apr 24, 2018 6:26 AM (+)]
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Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
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ZenMan
Apr 24, 2018 12:00 PM CST
vanessapau said:I have a container garden and I was wondering if there are any safety risks I should be aware of when reusing potting soil?

Hi vanessapau, Welcome!
Welcome to the National Gardening Association forums. There are safety risks. Some systemic insecticides and fungicides can persist in the soil, and any edibles that absorbed those systemics would be potentially toxic. Certain pests can persist in the soil, as eggs or pupas. I have an old microwave oven that I use to sterilize my old pre-moistened potting soil for re-use, and I don't use the re-used soil for edibles.

ZM
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