A composting bin

Can I put old potting soil in my compost bin?


You can put old potting soil into your composting bin!

Key info
Brown material📂
6 months - 2 years

Get the right balance of brown and green composting materials in your bin with our expert guide.

The Wonder of Soil Life: Why Should We Add Soil to Compost

Contrary to what many believe, soil is teeming with life. A handful alone can house millions of microorganisms along with an array of beneficial bugs and grubs that are instrumental to the composting process. When you add soil to raw compost ingredients, you essentially perform a dual role: providing a compost activator and a compost inoculant.

Understanding the Role of Activators and Inoculants in Composting

Activators are substances gardeners use to expedite the decomposition process, especially when a large amount of new material is added to the pile. These could include organic blood meal or alfalfa meal. Soil, being rich in beneficial microorganisms, acts as a natural activator and improves both the composting speed and the quality of the finished product.

Coping with Common Composting Challenges

Encountering issues such as foul smells or insects while composting? A little soil can go a long way in resolving these problems. By introducing the correct balance of bacteria, soil addresses bad odors and insect infestations effectively. Adding a layer of topsoil serves as a barrier against fruit flies and ants, preventing them from accessing the compost material.

Adding Soil to Compost Bins

Regularly adding a small quantity of soil to your compost bin is highly recommended. Not only does it speed up the composting process and tackle common composting issues, but some gardeners even report a significantly improved compost texture and composition as a result.

Choosing the Right Type of Soil for Composting

The most beneficial soil for composting is loam - a well-balanced, fertile soil known for its ideal composition of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter. However, don't stress about finding the perfect soil - as long as it doesn't contain artificial additives or excessive rocks or pebbles, most types of soils will bring value to your compost pile.

Can I Use Potting Soil or Clay Soil for Composting?

Yes, both potting soil and clay soil can be incorporated into compost. Old potting soil, especially the type that includes decomposed organic material, can contribute significantly to the overall structure of the compost. Clay soil, conversely, can amp up the heap's moisture-retention capability, which is a boon if your compost heap tends to dry out quickly.

How Much Soil should You Add to Compost?

While adding soil to compost heaps carries various benefits, using excessive amounts can be counterproductive. An ideal guideline would be to use no more than 10% of soil by volume. For every 6 inches of compost matter, adding two to three shovels of soil and thoroughly integrating it into the mix should yield optimal results.

In Conclusion: Bringing Soil Into Your Composting Routine

Embracing the use of soil when composting will not only supercharge the composting process but also help manage common composting obstacles. However, remember that moderation is key, and the goal is balance. Why not start adding a bit of soil the next time you put materials in your compost bin? You might be pleasantly surprised by the results!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I add soil to my compost bin?
Absolutely, you can and should include a small amount of soil in your compost bin to enhance the composting process and prevent common issues like unpleasant odors or insects.
2. What type of soil should I use for composting?
Loam soil, due to its balanced composition, is the best type of soil for composting. However, you can use almost any type of soil as long as it is free from artificial additives and doesn't contain too many rocks or pebbles.
3. Can I put potting soil or clay soil in my compost?
Yes, both potting soil and clay soil may be used in composting, with each bringing its unique benefits. Old potting soil contributes beneficial organic matter, and clay soil improves moisture retention.
4. How much soil should I put in my compost?
It is recommended not to go over 10% of soil by volume. A reasonable guideline would be adding two to three shovels of soil for every 6 inches of compost matter.

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