Every year gardeners find that they have a lot of potting soil left over from the spring planting season.
This is often because people buy more than they need and then plant larger plants than the containers they originally purchased, which necessitates using a larger pot than their leftover soil would fill.
Another reason so much soil gets left behind is that it doesn’t always pay to plant directly into your garden from a pot, especially when you’re working with large containers.
The good news is that leftover soil can easily be stored until next year’s planting season and reused for container gardening or small in-garden projects. Here are some tips on how to store potting soil until spring.
There are numerous methods for keeping potting soil, ranging from adequate airtight storage to simply placing it somewhere and hoping for the best outcomes.
In general, it’s ideal for keeping potting soil inside its original bag, which should be kept inside a safe container like a storage tote. Large plastic bins perform particularly well as repurposed containers.
If you don’t have access to the re-sealable original potting soil, you can re-seal the bag with tape and place it inside the huge Ziploc bag.
Things You’ll Need
- Mesh strainer
- Storage bins with airtight lids
- Cleaning solution / Disinfecting wipes
- Large-sized plastic zip-top bags
A Guide on How To Store Potting Soil
Moisture, insects, snow, sun, and animals can all destroy potting soil, resulting in a waste of money. If you use potting mix in your garden or with houseplants, you can recycle the soil next year for container gardening, so long as it is free of disease and has not been contaminated by weed seeds.
Proper potting soil storage will keep it fresh, mold-free, and bug-free. You’ll be prepared to pot plants during the winter and refresh your container gardens in the spring if you store them. Let’s dive deep to know how to store potting soil.
Step 1: Collect all the Potting Soil
- Gather all of your stray potting soil bags. Both full and partial bags will require particular storage.
- Evaluate what soil you can keep in the bag and which you’ll need to put into a new container if the bag is thin, ripped, or damp.
- Similar potting soil combinations should be grouped. For example, you’ll want to keep potting soils and fertilizer in the same bin, so you don’t have to open every container to find a specific sort of potting mix.
Step 2: Clean the Remaining Potting Soil
- To clean leftover potting soil that will be reused for containers, you’ll need to sift the soil using a large mesh strainer, removing rocks and other debris.
- This can be done by raking the soil out onto a large flat tray, tarp, or piece of plastic sheeting and shaking it gently so that the small particles fall through the holes in a hardware cloth laid over the top.
- Another option is to fill some buckets with water and then use a screen or colander to strain the larger particles out.
- Search for insects, seeds, egg sacks, larvae, plant growth, or mold within the soil.
- Remove any of the objects mentioned earlier and save the leftover soil for storage.
- Take the potting mix outside if it appears to be infested with mold or insects, and toss it into the composter to reuse later in the garden.
- Allow any remaining soil to dry in the sun, then store it for later use.
Step 3: Clean the Storage Containers
- Gather several containers to accommodate all of your potting soil, including the bags you intend to keep.
- To prevent mold, fungi, or bacteria from infiltrating your potting soil, wash or wipe off the inside of the storage container along with the lid using a disinfecting bleach water solution.
- Allow the container to dry naturally.
- If you’re going to deposit soil into a bin for storage, ensure the lid is airtight.
Step 4: Let the Potting Soil Dry
- If you maintain damp potting soil in a warm setting, it will grow mold or mildew.
- Because potting mix bags frequently include microscopic openings throughout the plastic for airflow, big bags of potting mix that have been lying outside for a long time are likely to be soggy inside.
- Mold can hamper the growth of upcoming plants and appear unsightly and emit a foul odor.
- Check for dryness in the potting soil. If the soil is wet, open the tops of the bags and mix the contents for a day or two to allow the soil to dry out.
Step 5: Pack and Seal the Containers
- The soil mix can be left inside a potting soil bag as long as it is sturdy, and the bag can be closed after all the air has been squeezed out.
- To eliminate dirt spills, fold non-sealable bags down to push out the air, seal them tight using tape, and store them inside a bigger zip-top plastic bag.
- Place sealed soil bags inside a bigger plastic tote, or choose a more attractive option like a stoneware crock, or a plastic-lined wicker basket, as long as you’re sure little children or pets won’t meddle with it.
- Empty the bag into an airtight container with other comparable soil mixes if you can’t reuse it or want to consolidate all of your potting soil within one storage container.
- Finally, make sure your storage containers are labeled.
Step 6: Store it Away
- Several different options are available when storing potting soil for reuse next spring.
- Line a large container with a garbage bag and store the soil inside.
- Place the soil in a large garbage can and cover it with a layer of leaves or straw.
- Store your potting soil inside your garage or shed so that the temperatures don’t get too cold. If you opt to use an unheated storage facility like this, monitor your soil temperature closely throughout the winter.
- Bury your potting mix inside a compost pile so that it can naturally decompose over the winter season.
- Smaller bags with lids are better for interior soil storage because they can easily slide into a cabinet or stack on a shelf.
- If you don’t plan on storing soil in the original bag, tear off the front of the bag and tape it to the lid to view what’s within.
- Place the bins somewhere where there isn’t a lot of dampness. A wet basement is preferable to a closet or pantry.
- Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to ensure that your container is protected from animals and insects, so they don’t contaminate the soil or carry disease into your garden.
Learning how to store potting soil properly helps keep it fresh, pest-free, and ready for any last-minute planting projects. Potting mix bags stored properly are less likely to spill and create a mess on the floors or shelves.
Excess potting soil can be stored simply and cost-effectively. Keeping all garden items neat is simple if you follow the tips above for storing potting soil.
Every gardener must know how to store potting soil. Instead of disposing of it during the winter, you can save your soil to reuse it next spring. You may believe that potting soil storage is difficult.
However, you may find it useful for the following growing season. Make sure you understand the best practices for preserving potting soil so you can achieve the greatest results.