Is it worth sterilizing the soil for seedlings: advantages and disadvantages of this method

By Andrii MaistrenkoJun 22, 2024 07:32 AMGarden
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Is it worth sterilizing the soil for seedlings
Is it worth sterilizing the soil for seedlings. Source: dengarden.com

Preparing the soil for sowing seeds and growing seedlings is a crucial stage that significantly impacts future harvests. There are differing opinions on the necessity of soil sterilization, also known as soil calcination, to eliminate pathogens. Some argue that this method not only eradicates harmful organisms but also beneficial ones, rendering the soil unproductive. SSPDaily delved into this matter.

Moreover, some amateur gardeners propose watering the soil for seedlings with boiling water and subsequently drying it. However, as always, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Conventional soil calcination methods often entail heating the soil in a conventional oven at temperatures exceeding 95 degrees Celsius, according to some recommendations. Unfortunately, this approach risks destroying a significant number of beneficial microorganisms, resulting in sterile and unproductive soil.

Nevertheless, heat treatment remains essential, even when utilizing soil purchased from reputable suppliers. Experience indicates that the best results are achieved through soil steaming, which strikes a balance between preserving beneficial components and eliminating harmful substances.

To execute this method, if using purchased soil, enclose it in plastic and submerge it in a container filled with boiling water. Seal the container tightly with a lid without opening the plastic wrapping and allow it to sit until the water cools completely, which may take several hours. Avoid subjecting it to extreme cold; instead, let the process continue at room temperature.

For homemade soil mixtures, employ the same procedure, securely packaging the portion in a plastic bag. It is crucial to note that rinsing the soil with boiling water yields no benefit and should be avoided to conserve time and effort.

Once the steamed soil has thoroughly dried on a flat surface, level it before using it for seedling cultivation. By adhering to these guidelines, you will enhance the quality of your crops, ultimately leading to higher yields.

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