Potting soil should be sterilized to give your plants the best-growing environment. You can do this by killing weed seeds or disease organisms that you might find in the soil. In this article, you will get a few different recipes for making your own natural soil. Keep reading and find out how to sterilize and make your own organic potting soil.
1. The oven method
In small batches, the oven method works exceptionally. Follow these instructions carefully:
Fill an ovenproof container about 3 inches deep with soil, mix in a generous amount of water (not enough to make it runny or soupy but thoroughly wet) then cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated oven (200°F) until the temperature of the center reaches 180°F (use a meat thermometer to measure). Once the temperature reaches 180°F, bake for 30 minutes. Do not overheat or overbake since it can release toxins harmful to plants as well as kill beneficial organisms. It can smell quite foul when baking, but this is normal.
2. The microwave method
To use the microwave, put about 2 pounds of moist soil in a thick, plastic bag. Leave the top open and place it in the center of the microwave. Heat it for two to five minutes on full power, checking the temperature in the middle of the dirt with a thermometer. When the target is reached (180°F to 200°F), close the bag carefully and put in a cooler to hold the heat in. Then, allow cooling.
3. The sun method
Choose a spot in the yard that receives at least 6 hours of sun during the day (8 hours a day is best). Lay out clear plastic sheeting and cover with a layer of dirt about 4 inches deep. Spray generously with water. Cover with another sheet of clear plastic and secure the plastic in place by laying a border of rocks all along the edges of the plastic. Bake in the sun for at least 4 weeks in hot, sunny weather and up to 6 or 8 weeks in cooler weather.
Rake up the dirt each week to make sure the heat reaches all of it.