If you’re a plant lover like I am, then you probably know the importance of having sterilized potting soil on hand. Houseplants thrive on sterilized soil that has no harmful contaminants in it. The downside is that it also contains little, if any, nutrients in it. Therefore, you have to fertilize your plants on a regular basis so they can grow to be healthy and strong. Driving to your local garden supply store when you run out can be a hassle. If you know how to make homemade sterilized potting soil, you’ll have an endless supply!
There are two good ways to make homemade sterilized potting soil, so you can choose the best method for you. It’s smart to make a large batch at a time when you sterilize potting soil. That way, you’ll have plenty on hand for your houseplant projects.
The first method involves using your cooking oven. You’ll need some old, deep, metal or glass baking pans. Preheat your cooking oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, pour the soil you want to sterilize into the metal or glass pans. Spread the soil out evenly. In order to achieve the best results, the soil shouldn’t be more than four inches deep.
The next step to make homemade sterilized potting soil is to completely cover the tops of the pans with a layer of aluminum foil. Fold the foil over the edges securely.
You’ll need to use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the soil while it’s in your cooking oven. Stick a meat thermometer through the aluminum foil and into the middle of the soil in one of the pans.
Once the oven has reached the proper temperature, carefully place the metal or glass pans inside it. To make homemade sterilized potting soil, the soil will need to stay at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes. So you’ll need to set a timer too once the process has begun.
Periodically check the temperature on the meat thermometer during the thirty minutes to make sure it doesn’t go beyond 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does, adjust the temperature on your cook stove as needed.
Then, after the time has expired, remove the containers from your cooking oven. Allow the sterilized potting soil to cool. Store it in the metal or glass pans. Or, transfer the soil into clean, sanitary, airtight containers.
The next method involves using your microwave oven. It’s a little quicker and less energy-consuming that using your cook stove. To make homemade sterilized potting soil in your microwave, use non-metallic, two pound containers that have sealing lids. You can also use plastic, microwave-safe bags. Vent each lid and leave the bag open while you are sterilizing soil in your microwave oven.
The rule of thumb is, for every two pounds of soil you want to sterilize, you’ll need to microwave it on high power for about ninety seconds until it reaches a temperature of 180 hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Use a microwave-safe meat thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.
Once the potting soil reaches the proper temperature, you’ll need to keep it that hot for twenty minutes.
After the proper time has elapsed, remove the containers from your microwave oven and allow the potting soil to cool down. Then, place the lids on the containers properly so they’re sealed tightly. Or, close the bag and seal it shut to keep the potting soil sterilized until you use it.
Of course, with either the cook stove or the microwave oven method to make homemade sterilized potting soil, you can immediately use the soil after it has cooled down.