This time of year, much of our garden activity focuses on clean up and prep work. We have a little extra time on our hands because we’re not actively gardening as much as we do in warmer months, so it’s an ideal time to get things ready for next spring. Take potting soil, for example. Many of us have bags lying around in the garden, by the back door, in the garage, or in the potting shed. Now’s the time to organize all those bags for storage, and we’ve got the steps to help you do it so your potting soil is ready to go in a few months!
Where to Start: Saving Soil
1.) Gather up all your bags. Take a walk around your garden and in the areas where you have your gardening supplies. Round up all of your potting soil bags, opened and unopened. Inspect each bag, removing leaves and any obvious bugs from the contents. Make sure the potting soil is completely dry, as any lingering moisture can cause a variety of mold or mildew problems over the winter.
2.) Find or buy a large plastic storage tub. I get mine from my local home improvement store — 20- or 30-gallon sizes with lids work well, and they range from $7.00 – $12.00 each. I prefer the ones that have the lids that snap on all the way around rather than those that simply snap on by the handles — this gives me added confidence that moisture will be kept at bay.
3.) Thoroughly clean and dry the tub. This is especially true for storage tubs that you already have on hand, but I recommend washing out new containers as well, including lids. Use a weak bleach water solution (9:1 works well), and soak both the container and lid for about 10 minutes to sterilize. Empty the bleach water and allow both pieces to air dry. Before using, wipe with a clean cloth to make sure there is no moisture on board.
4.) Prepare your bags. Combine potting soil into fewer bags if you have small quantities in several different bags. Seal all of your bags with clear tape before placing the bags in the tub. You can also simply empty the potting soil straight into the storage tub itself, sans bags. After loading the potting soil, close the container with the lid, making sure it’s completely snapped into place.
5.) Store for the winter. Store your tubs in any dry place like a shed, a garage, or a basement. We have a covered carport where all of our out-of-season garden supplies are stored — if you have a carport, be sure to store your items far enough under the eaves so nothing gets wet during inclement weather!