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View Poll Results: Do you use an Autoclave?
I have never heard of sterilizing my garden soil. 3 27.27%
I have heard of / seen these, but never used one. 6 54.55%
I have used one, but it was under the direction of someone else, I do not recall how it worked. 1 9.09%
Yes, I have one and I use it every year. 0 0%
Purple mongoose 1 9.09%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-29-2024, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Sunnybrook Farm
4,510 posts, read 2,651,635 times
Reputation: 12995

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
fungi, bacteria, and multicellular organisms are NOT viewed as nutrients.
OK, but of the nutrients plants depend on, how many are organic compounds that will be damaged or changed by exposure to high heat?

There's a great deal more to plant nutrition than nitrogen phosphorus and potassium.

And plants cannot make use of the variety of nutrients in real soil, without the symbiotic fungi, bacteria, beneficial nematodes, and a variety of other organisms that WILL be damaged or destroyed by autoclaving.

Instead of us both vaporing on about this, why don't you make an experiment? Take two selections of soil, sterilize one in an autoclave, leave the other one alone, plant your plants, locate them in the same place, same temperature and sun exposure, same amount of water, and chart plant growth vs. time for each group. That's what Mendel, or Burbank, or Carver, would have done.
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Old 03-29-2024, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Canada
14,735 posts, read 15,011,327 times
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Seems like a lot of hassles and time consuming work to go through to avoid weeding 40 hanging planters when the weeds are all going to come back every year again delivered by other sources anyway.

There have been a few times when I've been required to thoroughly sterilize soil. Sterilizing wasn't my first choice, it was a last resort since I really prefer to use living soil for my plants. I haven't autoclaved it or done it in an indoor oven though.

I've sterilized it outdoors by using large old 2nd hand sheet metal baker's trays with deep sides, (you can improvise using other types of metal trays or big pots) half filled with soil with the trays placed on old steel grates or oven racks which have been placed above an open fire pit. I've also used partly filled heavy duty aluminum livestock watering troughs placed over the firepit. Stir and cook over the fire, stir and cook and keep on stirring until it's steaming. Quit cooking it when steaming decreases and the soil starts smoking and you can smell it's on the verge of scorching. Then immediately slide it off and away from the firepit to let it fully cool down. So that will kill seeds, spores and eggs, and any living organisms that might have been in the soil.

I wouldn't want to do it for 40 hanging planters though, not if they're big planters. That's a lot. For that many hanging planters I'd just use a bale or two of compressed pre-sterilized lightweight 100%peat and provide the planters with liquid nutrients.

.
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Old 03-30-2024, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
13,055 posts, read 18,096,128 times
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Unless you autoclave or boil the birds, bees and insects you are pretty much wasting your time.
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Old 03-30-2024, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
37,443 posts, read 61,352,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuts2uiam View Post
Unless you autoclave or boil the birds, bees and insects you are pretty much wasting your time.
That was very helpful
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Old 03-30-2024, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Canada
14,735 posts, read 15,011,327 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
That was very helpful
It is helpful and something to think about because the birds, bees and insects and also wind will be bringing seeds, pollen, bacteria, spores and contaminants of one kind or another directly to the sterilized soil in the planters.

So sterilizing the soil for outdoor planters is kind of counterproductive unless you have the planters enclosed inside a sterile greenhouse or other shelter where no birds, bees, insects or wind can get at them.

And if the plants you are growing in the planters need to have the flowers pollinated by birds, bees, insects and wind in order to bear fruits, then having them in an enclosed space is also counterproductive unless you're willing to pollinate everything by hand.

.
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Old 03-30-2024, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
37,443 posts, read 61,352,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
It is helpful and something to think about because the birds, bees and insects and also wind will be bringing seeds, pollen, bacteria, spores and contaminants of one kind or another directly to the sterilized soil in the planters.

So sterilizing the soil for outdoor planters is kind of counterproductive unless you have the planters enclosed inside a greenhouse or other shelter where no birds, bees, insects or wind can get at them.
I am aware that by being outside they will always be exposed to further seeds and stuff.



Quote:
... And if the plants you are growing in the planters need to have the flowers pollinated by birds, bees, insects and wind in order to bear fruits, then having them in an enclosed space is also counterproductive unless you're willing to pollinate everything by hand.
Nothing in my planters needs to be pollinated.
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Old 03-30-2024, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Canada
14,735 posts, read 15,011,327 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
I am aware that by being outside they will always be exposed to further seeds and stuff.

Nothing in my planters needs to be pollinated.
Everything needs to be pollinated, even if it's by assistance of wind alone. Snap peas are self pollinating but in self-pollination, pollen grains from anthers on a plant are transferred to stigmas of flowers on the same plant by means of wind carrying the pollen, or by the wind (or you) shaking the plants enough to cause pollen grains to shake out and transfer to other flowers' anthers.

It's a moot point though. If you want to save yourself the time, labour and money you could try using just pre-sterilized peat as the medium for the plants to establish roots in and give the plants a measure of liquid nutrients every time you water them.

I do very much like the idea of growing trailing snap peas in hanging planters. It would look very attractive and since they're hanging up it would help protect the plants from animals on the ground that would eat the plants and peas.

.
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Old 03-30-2024, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
37,443 posts, read 61,352,754 times
Reputation: 30387
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
Everything needs to be pollinated
I do save seed for some of my crops.

However most of the stuff I grow does NOT need to be pollinated.



Quote:
... If you want to save yourself the time, labour and money you could try using just pre-sterilized peat as the medium for the plants to establish roots in and give the plants a measure of liquid nutrients every time you water them.
I harvest my peat, from peat bogs here on my land. it is NOT sterilized.
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Old 03-31-2024, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
13,055 posts, read 18,096,128 times
Reputation: 14008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
It is helpful and something to think about because the birds, bees and insects and also wind will be bringing seeds, pollen, bacteria, spores and contaminants of one kind or another directly to the sterilized soil in the planters.

So sterilizing the soil for outdoor planters is kind of counterproductive unless you have the planters enclosed inside a sterile greenhouse or other shelter where no birds, bees, insects or wind can get at them.

And if the plants you are growing in the planters need to have the flowers pollinated by birds, bees, insects and wind in order to bear fruits, then having them in an enclosed space is also counterproductive unless you're willing to pollinate everything by hand.

.
I totally forgot the wind. Duh.
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Old 04-01-2024, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
30,488 posts, read 16,198,344 times
Reputation: 44365
I can get getting fed up with pulling weeds but if the plants you want are growing happily, leave the weeds alone. You're never going to get rid of all of them. Mother nature likes weeds. She's got a mean streak. or a sense of humor. or both.
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