Using last years' container soil

Asked April 12, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT

I have a fair number of pots that held herbs and flowers, many of which came back untended from the previous year.I did NOTHING to maintain it - currently full of weeds and generally winter-worn. Can I use this soil (it was purchased potting soil) again, or do I need to add nutrients to it to plant new things-I'm particularly interested in growing vegetables and herbs. Do I need to test the Ph? How do I determine the best ph for different plants/veggies?. Thank you in advance

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

Container gardening is a great way to have vegetables when you have limited space. Yes you can use the pots with last year’s soil and yes there are some things you should do prior to planting. How well did your plants do last year? If they did well I would prepare the containers for this year’s planting. First you should clean up the containers, removing any unwanted plants or plant material. Next I would work a good soil supplement (compost) into the soil, and a slow release fertilizer. I would not plant the same vegetable in the same pot each year. I would rotate crops from year to year. Here is an excellent paper on container gardening: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/metro/sites/default/files/Container_Planting.pdf You can have a pH test on your container soil at your local the Washington County extension office. I would call first to see when they do it, 503-725-2300. I do not think it is necessary to do it with commercial posting soil. If you decide you want to have it tested do it before you add anything to the soil or start working the soil. Here is a paper about pH testing soil. http://extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/metro/sites/default/files/Testing_Soil_pH.pdf Good luck