We very briefly touched on the topic of storing our container garden soil over winter yesterday. We’re going to dive a bit deeper into that here today.
A lot of people don’t realize that you can totally re-use soil in your planters and container gardens. For us, with a large container garden, it’s absolutely essential to make it an economical growing solution. We’ve been doing it now for approaching a decade, with the same soil, and have had almost no issues at all. The only problem we have is that sometimes, the soil isn’t fully thawed by the time spring rolls around. Northern problems, I guess.
We store our soil in what are called Geobins. These are commercially available composting bins and each one can store just shy of 250 gallons of compost or soil. We love this solution as it promotes composting of our soil, thus our root balls break down quite well over the winter. It’s been a very scalable solution for us, too, as we can just add more Geobins if our needs grow.
As a side note, we use Geobins for composting, too. It was super easy and inexpensive to achieve 1,000 gallons of composting capacity with this solution. This helps in our cold climate as composting is generally slower, so we achieved greater production by scaling up overall capacity.
There’s probably some concerns about disease and things like that with a solution like this. We handle this risk with common sense. We don’t put any soil from plants that had a serious disease back into the soil storage. Even if we did, though, there’s a good chance the composting process will help with it.
We really don’t have to worry too much about crop rotation concepts either. Instead of rotating our plants, we’re rotating our soils between different plants each year. Sure, maybe some soil gets re-used on the same plants, but it hasn’t been an issue for us. You can infuse more nutrition into the soil by adding compost and/or granular fertilizers come the following spring.
So, if you’re looking for a larger scale soil storage solution, this is how we roll. It’s been effective enough for us for many years that there’s not much we’d tweak about it. It saves us many hundreds of dollars in soil costs every year. If you’re wanting an even deeper dive on the topic, we wrote a full article on the topic and you’ll find that linked in the comments!