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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Working soil from dead potted plants into my vegetable garden beds

You know those pots of soil laced with the dried-out root systems of dead plants, sometimes former houseplants, sometimes last year's annuals? I recycle the soil from these dead potted plants into each season's vegetable garden. Our garden soil is clay-like, here, while potted plants often have a loose soil structure. The nutrients may have been leached out, but texture of these pots of soil is good for my garden. I dump the pots out onto turned soil, add whatever coffee grounds we have for the week plus 2 large handfuls of plant food. I use a shovel to turn this all in, breaking up the root systems as I go, and rake it smooth for planting.

If perchance a pansy or geranium were to come to life in my veggie garden I would count that as a bonus. But for the most part, this is just a soil texture amendment. My garden needs some sort of texture amendment every year. My alternative would be to buy soil amendments for the garden. So I save a few dollars by recycling the soil from my dead potted plants.

Another bonus, my chives are about to come into full bloom. I'll begin making chive blossom vinegar over the weekend. Just in time for salad season! If you grow chives in your yard, be sure to use some of the blossoms. They have a delightful garlic-onion flavor and are wonderful broken over soups and salads.


  1. Chives are so pretty whether or not you like garlic or onions. Another thing I had planted at my old house that is missing from here. Soon enough, I will get things to my liking here.

  2. Mmm, I love chives--both for their appearance and taste. You have a great solution for amending your soil--I fill large planters with flowers and try to use as much of the extra soil from the flower flats as I can.

  3. Great post, Lili. I've done this, like you and Kris. Just makes sense, but it's funny that it isn't always intuitive. Even the old, old dried-out stuff is still soil. :)

    What a lovely chive photo! Like Live and Learn, I think that they're so pretty. DS and I had a happy surprise this spring when we found that the chive plant I gave to him over-wintered outside in way-below-freezing weather in a grow box with no water/snow. When I helped him bring it out on a recent visit, the chives were already sprouting! I was shocked, but so happy. Now they're out on the deck, enjoying the sun and rain, again.

    Have a great day! Sara

  4. This is a great way to use up that old soil and it’s good for the earth too. Your chives are beautiful, Lili.

  5. I do the same or run the pot soil through the compost bin to revitalize it. The tilth of my (formerly clay that hardens up almost like concrete) beds is quite good after many years of amending but you can never have too much good soil, IMO.


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