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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Reusing the Large Plastic Bags That Potting Soil Comes In

This is the third year that I've found uses for these bags, so I thought I'd share with you. As I empty each, I fold them for storage in the garage until I need one.

Some places will sell compost and other soil amendments in bulk at a competitive price for pick-up, if you have your own bags and fill the bags yourself. The businesses that sell in bulk are usually located in rural areas, but some locally-owned garden centers have compost for sale in bulk, early in the gardening season.  Suppliers whose main business is home delivery of soil amendments by the truckload may also sell on-site if you bring your own bags. One of my neighbors found a local stable through Craigslist and was able to buy composted horse manure mixed with straw at a bargain price by bagging and hauling it away herself. So, this is one way I've saved on garden amendments using my bags that topsoil came in, going to the site myself and bagging my own.

Last year, we did have a dump truck load of compost delivered to our home. We knew we could use the 10 cubic yards required to get the lowest price. After using most of it, I needed to set aside about 1 yard for use in the garden throughout the growing season. Lacking a place to pile this up, I got out several bags and filled them, storing the now-bagged compost near the spots where I'd be using it.

The saved bags came in handy once again this year. Almost all of my vegetable garden is planted in raised beds. This works great for most applications, with the exception of growing potatoes. Experts in my area suggest planting potatoes in trenches dug to about 12 inches. As I dig the trenches, I need some place to tidily store the soil until hilling up the potato plants. 

This year I used the bags, filling them with the removed soil, standing up in a 5-gallon bucket until about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

I filled 4 bags with soil from the potato bed. I've now got them stored near this bed and ready to use for hilling the plants.

These bags are quite sturdy. I needed some heavy plastic to line a cracked planting tray last spring. I slit open a bag and laid it into the tray. The planting tray remained leak-free for the entire season.

You know me well, now. I feel immense satisfaction when I get another use (or several) out of these single use plastics before discarding them, like I'm somehow getting something extra.


  1. I also get a feeling of satisfaction when I can reuse a plastic storage item. I'm not perfect with doing it, but I think that every little bit helps.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'm not perfect about reusing items either. But I know that overall I do a good job with stewardship. And we end up saving a little money by reusing these items.

  2. I love to repurpose, reuse, recycle. It's an obsession ever since junk journaling, and there is so much second use from things we thoughtlessly throw away. I like your tip to reuse garden soil bags. Thinking outside the box, saves money and the environment. And it is fun.

    Have a nice day,

    1. Hi Laura,
      I so agree on the second and third uses we can get from disposables. I think about my great-grandmother and how she would reuse everything until items were simply worn out. I strive toward that level, but may never get there.


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