Written by TagTomat 02 Apr 2024 08:15

Breathe new life into your soil and recycle it for this year's greenhouse cultivation.

Our blog posts this year will focus on soil and the best ways to rejuvenate it. We'll explore how to invigorate our old soil for reuse, ultimately saving money and conserving the earth's resources by avoiding the annual purchase of new soil.

We've embarked on a soil rejuvenation experiment using three different nutrient sources to enrich our old cultivation soil: compost, wool, and fungal substrates. Throughout the season, we'll track which amendment best supports tomato cultivation.

We invite you to join us, starting your own soil experiments in your greenhouses, so we can collectively learn the best methods for revitalizing old soil.


Guide: How to Refresh Your Soil

First and foremost, be mindful of soil diseases. If last year's plants were diseased, the pathogens could transfer to this year's crops if you reuse the soil, potentially resulting in significant loss. In the case of diseased soil, we recommend giving your grow bags a rest for at least one season before replanting. Afterwards, use the soil for different crops than those previously grown to minimize disease carryover.

If your soil is disease-free, you can participate in this year's soil experiment by refreshing it as follows:

1. Transfer the soil from your old grow bags, pots, and planters into a mortar tub or another large container.

2. Break up the soil and remove old plants and larger roots, as illustrated below.

3. Add new nutrients to your old soil, such as compost, wool fertilizer, or fungal cultivation substrate, and mix well. These amendments replenish nutrients that plants have depleted over the past season. For compost and fungal substrates, add about one-third by volume to the old soil. With wool fertilizer, use approximately 180g per square meter for tomato cultivation.

4. Return the enhanced soil to the planters and pots for cultivation. Adding compost may increase the volume of soil, allowing you to enrich the greenhouse ground or expand your container gardening.

5. Your soil is now improved and ready for cultivating tomatoes, chilies, herbs, flowers, and more without the need for new soil.

6. Continue to fertilize the soil throughout the season as needed for your specific crops. You can find a homemade comfrey or nettle fertilizer recipe here. Wool fertilizer releases nutrients slowly, reducing the need for frequent applications.

Tip: Free compost is often available at recycling centres. Alternatively, you might find someone looking to dispose of their wool or fungal cultivation residues.

We use self-watering mortar tubs for easy soil refreshing above a fibre cloth layer. Find a DIY guide here.

We're conducting all three soil experiments under identical conditions, cultivating the same tomato varieties and ground covers, to identify which soil amendment yields the best harvest. We hope you'll join us in this endeavour and share your soil improvement experiences.

Green regards and please share your stories with us.

Team TagTomat.