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How to Store Potting Soil over the Winter

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!

Soil in wheelbarrow

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.

bag of soil with trowel.

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!

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Potting soil
Saving potting soil


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  1. What do I do with the soil in larger pots? I have 20 gallon and larger containers I used to garden on my patio. What do I do now that i left the soil in them all winter long? DO I just amend and replant?

    • Hi Kristine! You’ve got it, amending your soil is what you want to do now. You can amend your soil with fresh potting mix or raised bed soil, mix in some granulated fertilizer for slow-release later, and if you have some compost that would be great too.

  2. Hello Im from Cleveland Ohio and I wanted to find the Kellog brand soil mixes. Last year the soil was in the big box store home depot. But its no longer there. I love the mixes can you possibly tell me where I would be able to find your products in Cleveland Ohio please. Not at Lowe’s either? Thank you.

    • Hi Shawnda, we’re so pleased to hear that you enjoyed our soil last season. Unfortunately, our product will not be available in your area this year, but we are hopeful and looking forward to being available in your regional Home Depots next year. The nearest Home Depot to you that will carry our soil this season is in Michigan. We hope you have a great season, happy gardening!

  3. I have started a Small Space Balcony Garden in Los Angeles. Would my unused Kellogg Organic Plus, (56.6 Liters) be safe stored inside a black plastic bag, inside a ‘homz’ plastic storage with the lid on, underneath a table on the balcony?
    I’m in Zone 10B, always finding some exciting to Sow, Plant & Grow!

    • Hi, we’re so happy to hear about your small space garden! If you’re planning on storing the soil in plastic, be sure you check that the bags are free of dangerous chemicals. Seal the bags with clear tape, and then store them in the bucket. It should be fine under the table, but we recommend moving it inside before any heavy storms.

  4. Hi, i bought about 50 each of the potting soil & of the dirt in bags at walmart this fall, they were $1 a bag. Will the dirt, which is damp in the bags, be ok or should i dump the dirt & potting soil out of the bags into containers? Or will they be ok in bags inside my shed?

    • Hi Janice, your soil should be fine if left in the bags. Be sure that the bags are closed and sealed to keep critters and air from getting in. If the bags are opened or damaged, then we recommend moving them into containers.

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