Author Topic: Storing potting soil...  (Read 4508 times)

Offline SteveandTracyinKY

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Storing potting soil...
« on: April 25, 2011, 11:57:14 PM »
So I have been talking with my wife, and she suggested storing several bags of soil in case we needed to produce in containers during a SHTF. I searched the forums but could not find any discussion on this topic.

Our major concerns are the durability or the soil as far as the fertilizer and such. It is dirt for the most part, so it should last and perform right?

I guess if you consider a type of scenario that could pollute the soil it might be a damn good idea. Nuclear, chemical weapons, disease pandemic, ect.

Just wanted to get some discussion started.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Storing potting soil...
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 05:55:10 AM »
Any good potting soil is going to be soil-less.  It will likely have some organic matter in it and that could continue breaking down.  The perlite won't break down at all.

As for fertilizer in it, I would avoid the kind that has fertilizer built in.  Maybe stock up on some compost as well and mix that in when it comes time to use the potting soil.

I also think that you would want to rotate this stuff like you would food.  It would eliminate the chance that it would become worthless.  But the bigger thing is that growing in containers is very different from growing in the ground or in raised beds.  I find it a bit easier, but you also have to get some practice doing it.  It takes different actions to ensure a good harvest.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Storing potting soil...
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 07:33:13 AM »
As Fritz mentioned, I wouldn't go with anything that has fertilizer in it.

If you have the space I'd also consider the possibility of a composting bin or tumbler. When the mix has broken down sufficiently you could bag it yourself or put it in a plastic bin for storage. There are a lot of articles on the web with recipes for creating potting soil.

The Dirt on Potting Soil is a good article on potting soil from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. The article doesn't go into storage, but will give you the idea that "potting soils" vary widely and in some instances aren't all that good as growing mediums for various reasons.


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Re: Storing potting soil...
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 02:13:44 PM »
I think I'd focus more on having ways to protect your garden plot from the potential pollutant.  The amount of potting soil you'd be able to store is nothing compared to the top 12" of a 200 square foot bed.  Yet one roll of 6 mil plastic could cover over 1000 square feet and cost a fraction of what 10 or 20 bags of potting soil would.  Also, consider something like used billboard covers.  Sure can't beat the price (free).

I think having two 10-12' x 100' rolls of 6mil plastic around is one of the simpler, more versatile preps you can buy.  Damaged roof-fixed.  Damaged window-fixed.  Need emergency water collection-done.  Need to protect your garden from radioactive fallout-viola.  Need a 100' long slip and slide-no problem...use at your own risk.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Storing potting soil...
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 05:37:06 PM »
I have a storage of potting soil - I keep it in my SFG beds in the yard. I often add compost, much, sand and other plant material. Seriously, you are way better off improving your existing soil / garden over time than storing bags of potting soil.

Offline sdcharger

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Re: Storing potting soil...
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 12:20:05 AM »
I'm of the opinion that you can just buy some organic potting soil, top soil, and compost and pile it up somewhere with a tarp over it.  It is cheap insurance for sure.  You can rotate it every few years as you add to your existing gardens.  This would be in addition to your composting.

I have also stored enough redwood to build two more 4x8 raised beds.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Storing potting soil...
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2011, 09:44:12 AM »
What do you mean by 'several bags'. I usually get large bales of the stuff instead of messing with the smaller bags. It is wrapped quite well and I have stored them without damage for some time. I usually use them as a 'table' with a board tossed over the top for various other things from checking the conformation of a litter of rabbits, to a potting table. But if you are talking like less than 10 bags, you ought to be able to find half a dozen places to keep it.

I know a friend used to keep bags of potting soil in her trunk for traction weight during the winter months. So storage was not an issue for her either.

It won't go bad. I STAY AWAY from brands like Lilly Miller and Miracle-Gro as I grow as organically as I can and it has alot of additives in them.