Potting soil - Does it go stale?

I have a very large bag of Miracle Gro potting soil that's been sitting on my porch all (Nebraska) winter.
Is it still OK to use? I have a few houseplants that need transplanting into larger pots and wondered if it would be alright to use this potting soil.
Thanks in advance.
Brigitte
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It's fine, although most likely frozen solid. Just let it defrost and use it.
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On Sun, 30 Jan 2005 16:24:56 +0000, Brigitte wrote:

As long as it doesn't smell foul or have mold growing on it should be fine.
--
Yard Works Gardening Co.
http://www.ywgc.com
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wrote:

It should be okay, provided it was kept closed so bugs could not crawl into it. If you want to make sure, bake the soil at 275 F for an hour.
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Serves what, 12? :-) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com
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depending on the servings, and amount left in the bag..........but seriously for a moment........baking the soil for an hour at 275o will make SUCH a stink.........and it's MIRACLE GRO soil, it has FERTILIZERS and TIME release substances. She'll render those down to useless. Like Ann said, it's probably frozen, so bring it into the garage or kitchen or utility room to thaw,wherever you're going to pot these plants up at, and check for bugs, and pot those houseplants up with no problem. The shock of fresh soil will make them nuts and since it's Miracle Gro soil, the time release nutrients will start them in an early spurt of growth. Me? I'd top dress the plants at the end of February or mid March.
I understand the need or desire to pot up houseplants right now though. It's the only way with winter going on outside to get our hands into the soils until true spring. I do it myself all the time. But please, I suggest you DON'T bake that soil. If it were just plain stuff, maybe. But it's been altered and you risk causing the ingredients they put into the soil to be destroyed and defeating the purpose of it being "Miracle Gro "soil". Not to mention the stink that will be caused once the stuff heats up............
madgardener who sterilized soil in a microwave once and it took several sticks of incense, some Lysol room deodorizer and open doors in the middle of a wintery blast to rid the house of the smell, and it still had a lingering odor for weeks afterwards (not to mention I had to clean the microwave with bleach twice before ridding the thing odor free. Can you imagine what the first batch of popcorn smelled like when I discovered after cleaning the oven once that it wasn't quite nuked stinky soil free smell yet? euwwwww live and learn)
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wrote:

I've had no problems baking soil. It does cause an odor, but it is not objectionable and it dissipates quickly all on its own. It does not linger and has a slightly caramel-earthy odor. Baking does destroy the bacteria, but there's plenty microbes around to inoculate the soil immediately after cooling.
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Yours doesn't smell? I was lucky. The first time I baked dirt I did it in my grill. I learnt early to NOT try this at home....or at least IN the home :>)
Definately up there on the list of worst smells ever.
John

seriously
release
to
will
nutrients
plants
It's
you
to
middle
after
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I regularly purchase potting mix in the 2 cubic foot bags, and almost always more than I need for the current job at hand. Opened bags are dumped into a large trash barrel with a tight fitting lid and kept in a "bin" on my "potting bench". This is outside as I find it a much better place for such things. Unopened bags are stacked nearby. Freezing and thawing over the (long) winter takes care of any bugs and most other fungi problems. However, there are beneficial fungi that are found in certain types of soil and soil less mixes so I do not worry too much if any do show up. I do not bake or by other means sterilize the potting mix I use. and have not ever had any problems.
I use the same potting mix for all of my planting needs, from sowing seeds to transplanting to potting up blooming sized perennials, as well as all of my various types of house plants. The only thing I have even added has been perlite to increase the drainage and aeration for certain plants.
I've not had potting mix get "stale" per say, but I have had it get a bit too dried out. In which case I mix it 50/50 with a new bag. If I do not need to use it immediately, I will give the newly mixed media a good watering, a quick "stir" with the spading fork and then leave it alone for a few days with the lid off (unless there's rain in the forecast!)
If by some remote chance your bag of potting mix has gotten too wet and has soured, it can still be salvaged by opening the bag and dumping the contents onto the ground (preferably a paved surface) letting it dry out and then mixing in new potting mix. Cover this with a tarp and let it "cook" for a couple of weeks and it should be ready to use - in the garden or for potting up planters and barrels that will be used outside. I would also NOT USE that particular brand again.
Hemmaholic
PS
Potting soil rarely stays in a bag long enough here for it to "go stale".
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seriously
release
It's
Yes, spring isn't getting here quick enough and I'm suffering from dirt withdrawal. :)
I do it myself all the time. But please, I suggest you

I won't bake, I promise. :)
Thanks everyone for your responses.
Brigitte
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One winter -- no problem.
Five winters -- the bag will probably disintegrate from being in sunlight too long when you try to move it.
Either way, if the bag is intact you can probably still use it. Just check for things growing in it before using it for something you will depend on. If there's moisture in the mix (there's generally some when you buy it) you could get moss growing in it. That's fairly easy to remove because it makes fairly cohesive lumps.
Try one (minor) houseplant and see if it has any problems. If no problems arise after a couple of weeks, do the rest of them.
Brigitte wrote:

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