is there a way to replenish / reuse old soil?

Discussion in 'Organics' started by nickbbad, Apr 25, 2009.


    nick17gar Well-Known Member

    i reuse soil, do it all the time, but you have to re-enrich it. put it more bonemeal, perlite, vermiculite, compost material, etc and let it cook for a while (let the microbes multiply). i also add in earthworms (live ones). I use my 'used soil' towards the top half of my pots, and my richer soil towards the bottom half.

    think of the farmers all around the world, they dont buy new soil, they rotate crops around, and re-enrich their many many acres. over and over.
    Joule Eon

    Joule Eon Member

    This seems like an old post but I will weigh in on the debate.
    Reusing soil makes sense. It saves money and reduces the chance of neighbor seeing you move around all that soil.
    Recycling soil is a very simple process, especially compared to the entire growing process.
    Dry the potted dirt out. Just remove the main root ball and you can even put the soil back into the original bags.
    If you just let this soil sit and do nothing, time alone will make the soil 100% usable again. There is nothing toxic in this soil!
    You shouldn't reuse old soil right away, same as manure etc. But, I have done it when I had no other soil and it still worked fine. I just wouldn't try this on fresh cuttings.
    This is not going to work if you are still not using organic nutrients.
    You are going to have to work harder just to get the chemical nutes right for good growth without over fertilization. At the end, I sure would NOT recycle the toxic soil.
    I also use the spent soil along with some fresh compost to mix with my teas. Even at the end, this is a healthy organic system.
    My temperatures, humidity levels and watering schedule are not tightly controlled. I root straight into soil. I have never lost a plant to fungal disease etc. My recycled soil is 100% usable in every way.
    If you can recycle and choose not to, because it is more inconvenient, even if it costs money to do it, is plain irresponsible in today's world.
    To advise people not to, is like telling people it is OK to waste resources.
    We should be strongly encouraging it.
    Sincerely420 likes this.

    tkowitha123 Well-Known Member

    I completely agree with re-using soil. I have a grower friend who does not agree with me on this topic needless to say I help him "dispose" of ALL his "old soil"!!! He strictly use's 1 bale of Pro-mix bx with 2 bags of fox farm ocean forest and 1 bag fox farm happy frog, which is a really nice mix for him, or (he supplement's it well with nutes). I pick this soil up from him twice a year and he usually has ton's of it like almost 2 full truckbeds worth each time. I just started re-useing his soil mixed 50/50 with root's organics Green light Mix which has more per lite in it for my indoor cannabis plants. I'm about to use it for my first run and will let you all know how it turns out! Previously I was just adding all his soil to my garden and compost piles but they are starting to fill up, kinda thinking about marketing the refreshed soil to some of my other

    NickNasty Well-Known Member

    Just want to say I started this thread in '09 and am still reusing my soil. I use a different mix now but the principles are the same. When I started this thread it was frowned upon to reuse your soil now a lot of growers swear by it. I have been growing for about 13 yrs and have learned more about the plant and soil in the past 4 yrs reusing my soil then I did the the first 9. Almost every grower I hang with has switched to this because they have seen my success and seen the success in their garden. If you are a good organic gardener your soil is alive and diverse why would you throw that away and start over?

    Anotherlover Active Member

    Very close to what i do.
    I just dunk it all into a drum with holes in the bottom and leave it out in the sun and rain, I add some rabbit food, tea bags and similar till full then let the rain wash it out for me.
    When the pot is full I chuck some compost activator in the top and a couple months later I have a batch of very healthy medium :)
    Washed by the rain, sterilised by the sun and full of happy little microbes.

    I basically swap my grows though, when I use a drum of this I go organic, freshly bought stuff I do a run with GHE then dump in a drum when done.

    Spicy8305 Active Member

    Wow this thread just blew my mind, I've never heard of trashing soil in my whole life. I've been growing all sorts of shit indoors and out for over 20 years. Blood meal, bone Meal, alaskan fish emulsion.... I've used it all and it works just fine, I also compost everything I can. I dont think I've ever thrown soil away I honestly never even knew people did that..... sort of sounds like hydro store Brujaja
    Heil Tweetler likes this.

    foreverflyhi Well-Known Member

    I used to buy new soil, throw away the "used" soil, how wrong i was. Never agian will i ever buy soil from a hydro store. As a matter of fact, these hydro buisness have no buisness being in the organic thread just my two cents
    Heil Tweetler likes this.

    anabanana81 Member

    I know this is an old thread, but I'm hoping someone could give me a little guidance? I was planning on doing what Mr. Baker posted, with the lime, bone meal, green sand, kelp, diatomaceous earth, pearlite, and worm castings, but shouldn't I also be adding some sort of compost?

    Or could I just add compost, lime and worm castings if I'm still planning on using the Earth Juice Elements line? I'm trying a slow move away from bottle fertilizers, but since that's how I've grown for the last 13 years it's too risky to switch over all at once.

    I also have very limited room for bins of dirt to be hanging around and I was wondering if I could just keep the old dirt and root ball in the old pots until I need to use it again. Would it continue to do it's thing in the 7 gal pots, just on a smaller scale?

    My present sol mix is equal parts sunshine #4 to Fox Farm planting mix with a hefty amount of Mega or Wonder Worm thrown in. I've used this in both my gardens for about the last decade on a continuous cycle and throwing it all away about every 2.5 months. I'm ready to be done with the cost and the waste, AND have better soil and healthier plants.
    Richard Drysift likes this.
    Richard Drysift

    Richard Drysift Well-Known Member

    Worm casting is compost and a good source of recycled mix is also a combination of sunshine #4 & FFOF. Don't throw it out next time & just get a small tote bin to drop your spent root balls in, add some dry amendments, worm castings, maybe some perlite or coco & let it sit for 30 days. Get away from bottles, dry amendments & maybe some soluble calmag is all they need besides water & you'll get better tasting more potent weed from super healthy plants.

    guardogz Member

    I luuuuuv my recycled soil. it usually gets freshened up w some soil out of the mulch pile, dolomite lime, eggshells and coffee grinds. biggest benefit was very few bugs. also if you keep the soil mild clones seem to do better. make sure to add equal amounts of perlite(or more) as it seems like the organic material breaks down over time creating more density. another option is to add a lil fresh store bought soil to your recycled mix. agree w mr drysift
    Richard Drysift likes this.

    bullSnot Well-Known Member

    I love this - certainly threads like this confuse the young gardeners. Here is my skinny on REUSE SOIL

    Don't ever Reuse if -
    You loaded it up with chemical nutes - there is a reason you flush before harvest.
    Your last grow from it had pests (fungi, mold, BAD bugs).

    Go ahead and Recharge/Reuse if
    You last gardened organic - no salty Chemical nutes
    It still has plenty of organic matter

    Supplement with Natural All Purpose nutes (happy frog naturals, Coast Maine Stonnuington ) if you know what you need as for N-P-K you can add seperate Organic "meals", worm castings, perlite, dolomite, Alfalfa etc.

    I also put in tubs or bags - covered in the sun for a few days. I never expose to open outside air..little shit bugs want in to good soil.

    The soil in my last grow was analyzed and it had carbon deposits from more than 10,000 million years ago...of course we can reuse soil...just do it right.

    Another benefit to using Organic "Live" soil. We are not just plant farmers, but also soil farmers.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018

    ShLUbY Well-Known Member

    10,000 million is 10 billion... just saying lol. maybe you were being sarcastic :) Cheers!

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