Importing potting soil is very energy intensive in its production and transportation to our region. The production of potting soil depletes natural resources, such as peat moss, perlite and pumice. Plastic soil bags also create an exorbitant amount of landfill. Dumping used potting soil is illegal and can be a source of pollution to local rivers.
Buying soil is a serious financial investment and it is not a “disposable” commodity. Protect your investment and the environment by following these basic suggestions:
- Maintain and improve your soil each year by planting cover crops (fava beans, vetch, winter rye, clover, etc.) in the fall to boost soil fertility naturally. Planting a mix is best. Compost cover crops or turn them back into the soil in the spring, 30-60 days before planting. Cover crops hold your investment (soil & nutrients) on-site by preventing them from eroding or leaching into the watershed during winter rains.
- If using bagged soil be sure to empty the bags completely and recycle them by bringing them to a local recycling center or garden store that recycles.
- Purchase bulk soil. This requires no plastic bags, saves you money, and reduces landfill trash.
- What to do with used potting soil? If you need to replace your potting soil, consider reusing it to develop new garden beds or giving it to gardeners who want it. If you’re experiencing salt build-up, consider layering the soil in compost bins with straw or hay, inoculating with beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi and letting it compost for a year or two before reusing. Potting soil can be legally disposed of for a small fee at Freshwater Farms or W. Green Landscaping.