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Reusing super soil

  • by bigtony1498
  • Dec 22 2012 04:02 PM
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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

I just wanna shoot this out there. Sub says he does not reuse his super soil but how many people reuse there soil and reammend it over again and make it good again to just throwing it away. I thought other than pest getting in your soil the only thing that is getting used up is the nutrients right so if you replace the nutrients isn't the soil as good as if newly made up it you let it sit ?
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  • NorCal Bladie

  • mjmama25
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Posted 22 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

A lot of us reuse our soil. For years I've been adding my used indoor soil to my outdoor garden and just adding some extra compost and bumper crop. Just lately I've been learning more about how to turn my used soil into a better product than it was to begin with. By amending and reusing your soil, it will just get better every year. I've heard to use half of the original amendments to recharge your soil. I unfortunately haven't had enough practice yet to confirm that statement.

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for your opinion maybe others will chime in later that have done this before

  • Old School on Amber Alert

  • pointswest
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Posted 22 December 2012 - 05:58 PM

Recycling soil is a no brainer, why would anyone start over each year when they build a living soil?


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  • colafarmer
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Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:42 PM

On my second grow with original soil without re amending, except for a compost re charge.....

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  • Sam Mcgee
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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:42 PM

This 2013 growing season will be 10 yrs for the soil in my vegetable containers.

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  • Irie67
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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:16 PM

Do you folks always add new humus when you re-use your soil? I do, as well as new ferts, but when i add more humus, then I have to add more airation and more peat so I dont end up with a soil that doesnt drain. My soil bin gets bigger and bigger each run because of the added ingredients. Is my humus so used up after a grow that I always must add more? Ive now collected about 100 gallons of soil and I only use about 25 per grow. A bit excessive

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  • yandi
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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:11 PM

I'm a complete Noob and can only offer a link to info from a well respected person but when i saw your thread i remembered i had read something about that somewhere and the 3rd post in InTheGarden's http://forum.grassci...-beginners.html thread she explains a bit about re-using our awesome soil hope that helps a bit :smoking:

  • Redneck grower

  • mosesnumb
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Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:07 PM

Good work Yandi. Welcome to GC.

Credit goes to ITG on this one. Just thought I'd save some people some foot work.

Re-using Your Organic Soil

Organic soil can be re-used over and over again. In fact, the soil actually gets better as it ages! Organic amendments take a long time to break down-definitely longer than a single grow cycle and years in some cases. You can even re-use the soil without adding any extra amendments. A plant only uses a small amount of the nutrition available in an organic soil, so remember that there's still a lot of good stuff in there. Soil can be used for several grow cycles without any additional amendments-you can grow for years without re-amending it. Also, if your garden is no-till, then you wouldn't follow this re-amending procedure. Just top-dress with some extra "goodies" every so often.

It's important to note that re-amending your organic soil is an art, not a science. While the recommendations I've made below are good, your soil may need something a little different. If your plant showed any kind of deficiencies, you'll need to amend the soil to correct for those now. Ultimately you should trust your gut and go with what you think is best over following a prescribed formula. The only thing you should absolutely add more of is your humus, and then any extra aeration amendment needed to offset the additional humus.

I like to lightly re-amend after each grow cycle or two to keep a steady supply of amendments in multiple stages of decomposition. After harvesting, pull out the root balls and soil and dump them in a large container. Use a shovel to chop up the roots as best you can (don't sweat over this). If you shake the soil off the root balls, then allow them to dry out for a day or two, they will break up pretty easily. Then add the root balls and old soil to some new soil or just use as-is if you don't have any new soil.

-additional humus (ewc and/or compost) at the rate of 1 part humus to 4 parts old soil.
-additional aeration amendment: add about half as much additional aeration amendment as you do additional humus (so if you add 4 gallons of compost/ewc, add 2 gallons of aeration amendment). You may need to add more to keep the level of aeration amendment consistent with that of the original soil-go with what you think is best.
-kelp meal: 1 cup per cubic foot of soil.
-dry organic fertilizer: about 1/4-1/2 cup per cubic foot.
-liming amendment: approximately 1/4 cup liming amendment per cubic foot of soil

If you amend soil this lightly, you don't have to let it sit and cycle (cook) before using it again-just toss a new plant right in. However, if you add any "extra" amendments or more than about 1/2 cup per cubic foot of the dry organic fertilizer, you will need to let it cook for 2-4 weeks before re-using it.

At this point you can also add any new "extra" amendments that you want to add. I would recommend adding about 1-1.5 cups total of additional amendments. Remember that if you add "extra" amendments you will need to allow the soil another 2-4 weeks of cycling (cooking) to give those amendments time to break down.
Let's say that you started with the base soil amended with only kelp meal and dry organic fertilizer, and now you want to several "extra" amendments (or just one, whatever you like). Make a blend of all the amendments you want to add, using equal portions of all amendments with a double portion of kelp meal. Now add 1-1.5 cups of this mix to your organic soil and allow to cycle for 2-4 weeks, or more (the longer the better).

(in progress, thanks for being so patient guys!)



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