It’s that time again! It’s finally time to start ordering seeds and getting your supplies ready for starting seeds indoors. One of the first things I do to prepare for this process is sterilize the seed starting medium (soil) I have. Instead of buying a new bag every year, I just pasteurize the soil I already have in the oven. Yes, I bake soil in the oven in my kitchen. Is that a surprise, really?
According to my WSU Master Gardener handbook, “The importance of using a sterile medium and container cannot be overemphasized.” The goal is to create the most optimal, artificial environment possible, so our seeds will germinate and our seedlings will thrive before they have to make the transition to the great outdoors.
Getting the soil to the right temperature is critical, between 140 – 180 degrees to kill most plant viruses and plant pathogenic bacteria. Overheating can damage the soil though, so checking the soil temperature frequently during the process, as you’ll see me do in this video, is important. I hope this video demystifies the process a bit and at the very least, entertains you a little. If nothing else, you can have a chuckle at what a big garden nerd I am. You can also check out the step-by-step post I wrote about the process a few years ago. Enjoy!
* Thank you, Jeremy Ochoa, for filming!