Asked on Dec 22, 2013

I have half a large bag of potting mix on my deck and I thought I had

by Louise
it closed up very securely with a bungee cord. However, when I opened it to repot some plants, the contents are VERY wet. I'm not sure how to dry it out. When I opened it, there was a live wasp or something similar on top of the soil, so I scooped it up and tossed it out. So then, I wondered if wasps (or whatever the creature is) lay eggs outside of a wasp's nest and if there might be zillions of them in the soil. I had thought of putting the bag in the garage and leaving it open, but if things started coming out, I wouldn't be a happy camper. And other insects could crawl INTO the soil. So, any ideas how to dry the soil out?
  19 answers
  • Helen Pilecki Helen Pilecki on Dec 22, 2013
    I would have to toss the whole bag. No way of knowing what is in it.
  • Louise Louise on Dec 22, 2013
    I might have to do just that. I have another 1.5 large bags in the garage.
  • Lesa Ishtar Lesa Ishtar on Dec 23, 2013
    I would poke small holes in the bottom of the bag and let it drain, then use it in pots outside for less tender plants. you could also sterilize the soil by baking it in the oven.
    • Carole Carole on Dec 23, 2013
      @Lesa Ishtar I don't think putting potting mix in the oven is a good idea as you can get legionnaires disease from potting mix. Personally, I would not be putting potting mix anywhere near where food was going to be cooked.
  • Carole Carole on Dec 23, 2013
    I read that potting mix should be used up once it is opened and not left lying around for too long before using. Maybe this is one of the reasons why?
  • Michelle I Michelle I on Dec 23, 2013
    I personally wouldn't waste it. I recently had a bag sitting outside that got ants it, of course that potting soil was for outside potted plants, So I threw a couple of handfuls of fire ant granuals in it. The granuals kills other insects also.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Dec 23, 2013
    I wouldn't waste it either. I use it somewhere outside to refresh outside soil in pots or barrels, use to fill a low spot in the grass or even throw it into a garden bed or boarder as it is soil. IF it was summer, you could put it out on a board and get it to try dry eventually in the sun but its probably the wrong time of the year for that. IF nothing else, I throw it into the compost pile where it will heat up and make it way back into good composted soil.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 23, 2013
    Lay the bag on the ground and then lay a black plastic bag over it. Leave it until spring. When the sun gets stronger, it will "solarize" the soil, killing any eggs that are there.
    • See 2 previous
    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 27, 2013
      @Louise A black bag will soak up heat better, but you can certainly just put your bag in a plastic bag and put it on the ground. I probably should have suggested it that way from the start.
  • June June on Dec 24, 2013
    Thank you Douglas Hunt. Much appreciated.
  • Bob1313 Bob1313 on Dec 24, 2013
    If you compost, this would make an excellent amendment and would likely speed up the decomposition of your pile.
  • MARY MARY on Dec 24, 2013
    miracle grow is a Monsanto product so who knows what is in your bag of soil. Don't throw it away. pour the bag out onto a table or a board (outside) and let the dirt dry out. mix the pile every couple of days
    • Bob1313 Bob1313 on Dec 24, 2013
      @MARY Actually, MiracleGrow is owned by Scotts. There is a possibility that the soil was mixed and bagged just up the Interstate in Fountain at former Hyponex faciltiy. Scotts is more environmentally friendly than Monsanto, but they still use a lot of chemicals.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Dec 26, 2013
    Bob, thanks for the update re: Scotts. Personally I ONLY use Miracle Grow type products or artificial fertilizer in potted plants. I NEVER add any chemicals to our ground or soil. I hate even the thought of those chemicals in our food or our water. It's homemade compost only for us!
  • Al Al on Dec 26, 2013
    FYI: Some years ago, (8?) on two different occasions, I put my left hand into Miracle Grow potting soil (actually the 2nd time was another brand, similar product) to smooth it out in the top of my flower pots. The first time, not right away, but a few days later, my hand and arm went numb, for no reason I understood, at the time. The 2nd time it happened, I remembered having been fixing my plants with the fertilized potting mix (Miracle Grow the 1st time, and another brand the 2nd) previously, and the subsequent numbness. This time, the numbness int my hand and arm was immediate and severe. The doctor told me that the chemicals in those fertilizers are the same/similar (?-forgot which) to chemotherapy drugs. She also said that it is common that the nurses who administer the chemotherapy get bad reactions to the drugs they are giving to the patients, even though the nurse never actually touches the chemicals (e.g., the nurse wears gloves, the drug is in bottles, tubing, etc.). She told me to never use those fertilizers, or those types, or fertilized potting soils again. It's been years and my hand and arm still have some numbness from the incidents.
  • Cathy W Cathy W on Dec 26, 2013
    Guess that is why I use gardening gloves over rubber gloves (Doctor type). Saves my rings and I don't worry about bugs or ground in dirt on skin. Die hard gardeners "love the feel of soil" but spiders on the ground along with those creepy other critters, I can do without handling! I'm an a occasional/ recreational Potter-Putterer!
  • Hilary S Hilary S on Dec 26, 2013
    Al's comments seem ridiculous.
    • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Dec 27, 2013
      @Hilary S Not ridiculous. Suggest your read the ingredients on the bag of that junk. Al is evidently sensitive to the chemicals contained in those type of products. He's lucky, the numbness is the only problem he got out of that encounter.
  • Christine Hendrix Christine Hendrix on Dec 26, 2013
    I would throw it away. I never reuse soil anymore do to bugs. You can fins potting mix marked down in many places.
  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Dec 27, 2013
    I'm very sensitive to nitrates and have, at times, absorbed it into my skin and passed out from it. It can happen. Doctors have told me to wear gloves when handling fertilizer and not get it on my skin.
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Feb 08, 2014
    I read more and more about using organic soil, especially for vegetables. I'm going to find some this spring and start using that. I have used Miracle grow for years but want a healthier alternative.
  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Feb 09, 2014
    I doesn't take much room to have a compost pile. Mine is about three feet square and I put all household vegetable and fruit trimmings and the coffee grounds in the pile and cover with leaves, grass cuttings, etc. It provides a lot of compost for my little garden and it is like a gold mine in the corner of my yard.
  • Helen Pilecki Helen Pilecki on Feb 10, 2014
    One of my neighbors had a bag of potting soil that was old so they put it into the their compost pile. Their little son was bitten terribly from fire ants that were in the