Easy way to sterilize soil for re-use.

BeanGrowerOctober 12, 2011

If you want to re-use potato soil (as from potato bins), or other specially made soil as well, you can sterilize it with boiling water. How to do this is explained in the Storey Bulletin "Potatoes, Irish and Sweet" -- Storey Publications in Vermont (around page 21, if I remember right). 5 gallons of boiling water will sterilize about half of the soil that I store in a 55 gallon drum, so about 25 gallons of soil. My potato soil is too specialized (low pH) and costly (contains vermiculite) not to re-use it!

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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Im wondering why you have to sterilize soil? I have grown potatoes every year-rotating postions as well, and have never had any problems at all. What kind of soil did you start with?....

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 3:48PM
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BeanGrower

Hi, Snibb. To answer your question, Wisconsin had a statewide epidemic of early blight in 2010 (a very wet summer!), and my tomatoes got it from my neighbor's tomatoes and then passed it on to my potatoes growing in their bin. So that contaminated the soil in the bin. It is a mix of Perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, and Miracle Gro potting soil -- with sulfur added to get the pH down to around 5.5 where potatoes prefer it. I intend to try again next year in the same bin, so I will sterilize this soil rather than pay to replace it. Early potatoes growing in another growbox in the front yard didn't get the blight -- just those in the bin near the blighted tomatoes in our back yard. Best to you.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 1:13PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Thanks for the answer...hmmmm....never heard of that before. It sure doesnt sound like much fun though...hope your able to get it cleaned up...

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 1:31PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

If you are OG the spray is out.
You could till it on a hot day & put clear plastic over it.
This will sterilize the soil.
Sterilize: kill everything, good stuff to, not the compost, but the good bugs.
Turning the soil every 10 days in the Summer will kill nematodes without clear plastic, but do not know about blight.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 9:51PM
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skagit_goat_man_(WA)

Everthing I've read from ag. schools says that it takes 180 deg x 30 minutes to sterilize soil. I don't think the boiling water does this.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 9:34AM
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