drowning compost to kill slugs

Asked March 27, 2015, 2:28 AM EDT

Hello, I live in an apartment and did quite a bit of container gardening in flower bulb crates (like milk crates.) I kept all my old soil and dead plant material (mostly basil and tomatoes) from last year. The old boxes and compost material has quite a few slugs in it. Can I take all my old crap and put into a big 50 gallon plastic garbage and soak it all awhile to kill the slugs and fungus gnats and let it dry out later to reuse? I'd really hate to throw all this away and start from scratch. Thank You.

Yamhill County Oregon container gardening horticulture soil and fertility issues

1 Response

No, to the trying-to-drown-scheme unless you enjoy dealing with a muddy mess. Fungus gnats thrive in humid, wet conditions with lots of dead plant material. Slugs thrive in Western Oregon's damp climate. The containers are not suitable for composting your old plant material. Either, send it out in a yard debris bin or develop a worm compost system. To replant in your containers, dump each one out individually on a trap, remove any plant debris, mix in some fresh mushroom, or other compost, then re-fill your containers. When you plant, put out slug bait and don't overwater your plants. Here's a link tohttp://urbanext.illinois.edu/containergardening/welcome.cfm "Successful Container Gardens" from University of Illinois Extension.