How to Maintain & Store Potting Soil – Best Potting Soil Tips & Tricks in 2021: The soil in good condition is vital for seeds to germinate and also for plants to develop healthily, in a habitat that offers them the best conditions to meet their basic needs. For planting flowers, people like to buy prepared potting soil in stores, where it is offered immediately in large bags of several liters. But rarely is the whole amount needed at once. So, you may face the need to store them for future use. Then, how to store potting soil?
The problem is that keeping the soil in good condition is not always easy. It is common to start with a noble substrate but time attacks the good health of the soil and so after a few months it deteriorates and loses part of its virtues. This is noticed because the soil becomes hard and blocky. This is common that it is difficult to stick a toothpick into the surface layer and it even looks opaque and much paler brown than the initial one. Then how to maintain potting soil? Well, don’t worry. This article is all about potting soil tips & tricks.
Drainage and Nutrients
How do you care for potting soil? To keep the potting soil in good condition, it should always be loose and fluffy. So that water can penetrate more effectively to reach the roots of the plant. If the soil is very clayey, you can help by mixing it with a little sand or even organic matter. On the other hand, if you notice that the water drains too quickly, the best thing to do is to mix it with a little heavier soil, i.e., more clay. Remember that the potting soil must be in balance in order to maintain the right humidity, but always without excesses.
Tips: Also pay attention to the relationship between the soil and the material used to make the pot, as the latter will influence the speed at which the water drains.
Another key point is the richness of the soil because every plant needs a series of nutrients to survive. That is why it will be key to nourish the soil with organic matter. If you are inclined towards ecological gardening, you can design your own compost with organic waste from your home and then mix it with the soil. Another option is to buy it in stores.
Temperature and Acidity
Another key factor in keeping potting soil in good condition is to take care of the alkalinity. If the soil is too acidic you can raise the pH by adding wood ash. It will be enough to add the remains of the ashes of a barbecue to help neutralize the acidity of the soil.
Temperature is another point to keep in mind when it comes to improving potting soil. Remember that plants need a warm habitat, especially during the germination stage. During the cold season, you can increase the temperature by moving the pot to a warmer surface, such as wood, or by covering the pot with fabric or cloth to insulate it from the cold. It also helps a lot to create a mulch that can be made of dry leaves, branches, or stones to insulate the soil from the cold through an insulating layer.
Read more about How to measure soil moisture?
What is the shelf life of potting soil?
Before telling you how to store potting soil, let us give an assumption on the shelf life of potting soil. Generally, valid shelf life cannot be specified for potting soil. The mixtures offered in the trade differ too much from each other for this. Storage conditions also play a significant role in shelf life, although some of them are difficult to influence.
Generally, young soil is best, as the nutrient composition is still ideal. Nevertheless, a bag of soil that has been opened does not have to go to waste. Under ideal conditions, the potting soil can also be used at a later date or at least used as an admixture.
Tips: Six months you can store the soil without hesitation. A period of several years, on the other hand, is not feasible without a serious loss of quality.
Where can you store potting soil?
Opened potting soil and whole bags are best stored in a cool and dry place, where they are protected from the weather and pest infestation. The following places are suitable:
- Unheated cellar.
- Garden and tool shed.
- Greenhouse, but only in winter (alternatively protective boxes)
- If the soil can only stay outdoors, it should at least be protected under a roof.
How to store the potting soil properly?
Do not pour the soil into a pile, as pests from the environment quickly spread in it. Leave the potting soil still in its original packaging and close it with staples. This also prevents weed seeds from getting inside.
Avoid fluctuating temperatures
Extreme heat and fluctuating temperatures do not have a good effect on the quality of the soil. Two disadvantages can be expected:
- Mold spreads
- Nitrogen fertilizer degrades faster
Note: Don’t worry about freezing temperatures, potting soil tolerates them well.
Final Thoughts: How to Store Potting Soil?
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When you search for how to store potting soil, we must warn you that loss of quality due to long storage is almost impossible to avoid. But with a few simple steps, potting soil can be refreshed easily. To ensure a healthy plant, first, you need to ensure the right maintenance of your potting soil. It all starts with taking care of the soil. Good soil will produce healthy plants.
- Moist cactus soil must be dried in the sun
- Compost or horn shavings compensate nutrient losses
Tips: Heavily growing plants need plenty of nutrients. For this use case, the old soil can be upgraded with mineral fertilizer well-dosed.