spent bag soil

bernsly(6)February 26, 2012

I have always used bagged soil (usually the all-purpose Miracle Grow type). Every spring I start a new herb garden in my kitchen window, which means cleaning the spent soil from last year's herb garden out of the pots. Up until two years ago, I had an outdoor bed I could just mix the spent soil up in. Now that I live in an apartment, I don't have that, though, so I trash the dead roots and empty the soil into a bag. It's too dry to reuse, and last fall I thought I could just add some water and fertilizer and grow other houseplants in it, but I found out that's totally wrong (for some reason, the roots all got super waterlogged). How can I re-purpose this soil?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

As soils age in the presence of moisture, the particles become smaller and smaller. Water retention is directly related to particle size, so what you have left is probably forever inappropriate for use in a container ..... unless you used it as a VERY small fraction of a new soil that had a very high % of large particles. A soil like you describe could easily support a 6" PWT. That is to say that after the soil is fully saturated, the bottom 6" or more of the soil might remain completely saturated and airless. This means that if the soil supported 6" of perched water, if you used it in a pot 6" deep or shallower, 100% of the soil would be saturated after a thorough watering. Hopefully, that's not acceptable to you, because it surely isn't to your plants. ;-) That condition severely inhibits/smothers root function and very often causes rot issues, so you'd need to weigh the risks of using it in container media.

You might spread it on the lawn or 'donate' it to someone with a compost pile.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 10:36AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

If you are looking for environmental purpose. I do not know if your area garbage collectors have a day to pick up just this type of trash. My borough sells the compost every year. Maybe your apartment trash has a separate bin for something like mulch/compost.

If you have a balcony you could get a small decorative trash bin and start your own compost using the soil and kitchen craps and grow a pot of cherry tomatoes this summer.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 1:47PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You could spread it under a tree in your common area or at work.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 1:04PM
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