What to do with soil in containers after harvest?

gardengirl3(8)September 27, 2013

I live in the Portland, Oregon area. I grew potatoes in three potato grow bags this year and just harvested them this past weekend. I don't know what to do with the soil though, can you use it again next year to grow potatoes in or what do you do with it? Would the soil get compacted, hard, or loss its nutrients? I have this trouble with my raised beds.

Thank you for any advice!

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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Sure, you can reuse them. Just protect them from rain all winter long. Then when it comes to plant potato, loosen it up, amend it a bit by some manure compost, granular time release fertilized and plant seed potatoes.

Alternatively , you could dump then in the garden, the you have to pay a lot to buy new potting mix. Potting mix is just a medium to hold moisture and nutrient , ..that is all. Same is true with the garden soil. They farm in water (hydroponic) as a medium, the provide the nutrients.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 3:51AM
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oliveoyl3

Yes, protect from rain that compacts soil & washes the nutrients away. The rain also washes away the lime that neutralizes our acidic soil. Most vegetables need neutral soil, but don't add lime to your potato soil because it can cause scab.

I've read It is best not use for potatoes again if you want to prevent disease. Buy new potting soil again for the bags or at least add 1 part new to the 2 parts used potting soil. Use it for annual baskets or another vegetable crop if desired.

About raised beds: maybe you need more organic matter to keep it loose. The rain compacts it & the original compost in your mix is probably long used up.

Now is the easiest time to mow over fallen leaves & add that right on top. If you can get a hold of barnyard manure you can put that 1st on top of soil then the shredded leaves & grass clippings. Used coffee grounds works wonders to prevent compacted soil, but does splash up on leaves of anything you still have growing. I try to cover the grounds with another mulch.

Don't bother to turn it over, but you can if you want in spring.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:25AM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

Don't reuse that soil to grow potatoes

Crop rotation... Crop Rotation... Crop Rotation

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:00AM
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gardengirl3(8)

Thank you everyone for your help!

I think I will do this reuse it and add new soil and nutrients to it because it seems like a waste to throw away the soil each year, I don't know how long I can do this for though. I also found slug eggs in one of the bags, I think they all hatched now. Hopefully that won't be a problem.

Do you think I should take the soil out of the bags and store it in like a big garbage bag or something or just leave the soil in the grow bags all winter? Right now they are outside with a trash bag laying on them to protect them from the rain, with some shredded leaves on top of the dirt to add nutrients.

In regards to my raised beds. I'm trying cover crops for the first time this year (crimson clover and dutch white clover). I hope they make it. I planted them in early October. Most have 2-3 leaves on them. Hopefully, this will help the compaction and keep the soil together.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 10:43PM
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gardengirl3(8)

I should add that I do not yet make my own compost, so I've been buying it every year, which can get expensive, which is why I was wondering if I could re-use the soil. I'm still wondering how long I can re-use it for.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 10:48PM
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