How to Recharge Potting Soil
Potting soil consists of a variety of ingredients that promote healthy plant growth, such as peat moss, sphagnum moss or ground bark, as well as minerals such as perlite or vermiculite. Some types of potting soil contain compost while others include slow-release fertilizer. Fresh, high-quality potting soil is expensive and is often discarded or added to the compost pile after a single year. However, there are ways to effectively extend the life of potting soil.
Remove dead plants, roots and other plant debris from the pot. Dump the potting mixture into a bucket.
Make several small holes in the bottom of a bucket or plastic container, using a nail or a drill. Dump the potting mixture into a bucket with drain holes.
Fill the bucket with water, and then allow it to drain. Repeat a second time. Flooding the potting soil leaches out salts and minerals left behind by repeated watering and fertilizing.
Spread the potting soil on a plastic tarp. Place the tarp in a sunny location, and leave it until the soil is completely dry. Stir the soil occasionally so that it dries evenly.
Mix the dry potting soil with an equal amount of compost. You can buy bagged compost at a garden center. If you use your own compost, sift it through a 1/2-inch screen to remove weeds and other debris.
Test the pH of the potting soil, using a testing kit, which can be bought at a store that carries garden supplies. Often, the pH of potting soil is low, or acidic. If this is the case, add dolomitic agricultural limestone — available at garden centers — until the soil tests approximately 6.8.
Mix in a granular, general purpose, slow-release fertilizer with an N:P:K ratio such as 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. Use about 1/2 cup for every 5 gallons of potting soil. The N:P:K ratio reflects the available nutrients in the soil — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Mix the mixture until it is slightly moist. Store the recharged potting soil in a container such as a cardboard box, clean trash can or plastic container. Label the container with an indelible marker. Let the potting soil cure for two weeks before use.
How to Recharge Potting Soil. Potting soil consists of a variety of ingredients that promote healthy plant growth, such as peat moss, sphagnum moss or ground bark, as well as minerals such as perlite or vermiculite. Some types of potting soil contain compost while others include slow-release fertilizer. Fresh, …
How To Recharge Soil in Containers to Keep This Year’s Plantings Healthy
After winter, recharge the tired soil in your container garden by using the tips below.
Container gardens really benefit from a little extra attention come springtime. In addition to last season’s plants having used up many nutrients, winter rains and snow filter through pots and planters and carry away the nutrients that were left behind – leaving you with depleted soil that has little to offer. But you can recharge soil with ease. New plantings will struggle to access proper nutrients unless we gardeners intervene and ‘feed’ the soil!
Though you might be tempted to toss the existing soil out and start fresh, that’s not necessary. With a little love, care and almost no time, these containers will be ready for your favorite vegetables or flowering plants to shine.
This planter lives underneath a wintertime bird-feeding area and collects lots of seeds and shells that need to be removed each spring.
How To Recharge Soil in Containers or in a Planter
- Start by scraping away the top-most layer of ‘crusty’ soil, leaves, pine needles, or whatever else your containers have collected over the off-season. Give the soil beneath a quick turn with a cultivator.
- If the soil level has dropped, mix in potting soil or garden mix to fill the planter back up.
- Turn compost or fertilizer into the existing soil to add back in some much-needed nutrients. Be sure that fertilizer, which can burn roots, is turned in deeply enough so that growing roots won’t come into contact with it right away.
- Now comes the fun part! Choose your favorite flowering plants, vegetables and herbs to re-plant your containers for this season.
After the planter’s been recharged, this volunteer kale plant gets transplanted for the short-term.
If you’re planting your containers with annual varieties that don’t last all season, there’s no need to wait until spring to recharge your soil. You’re always welcome to add compost or fertilizer to your soil in between plantings, just to make sure that good nutrients are available to all of your flowering and fruiting friends.
You can recharge soil in your planters before each new planting – not just in spring.
Now you’re ready to seed and/or plant! Looking for inspiration? Check out our lists of Container-Happy Bulbs and Container-Happy Perennials.
Last year’s container garden stayed nice and healthy after the soil was recharged in late spring.
Shop Perennials For Containers
‘Silky Deep Red’ Tropical Milkweed produces eye-catching, red-orange flowers with yellow centers. A valuable source of nutrition for Monarch butterflies, this lush beauty carries an .
Container gardens really benefit from some extra attention come springtime. Last season’s plants have used up nutrients, but you can recharge your soil with ease!