I live in a rented house, with minimal space for planting in beds, and am not allowed to modify the garden enough to change this. I grow a variety of fruit and vegetables in large pots, mainly tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, chillis and aubergines. Tomatoes are definitely in the majority.

Being the UK, the weather is often wet, even when warm, and we've had the odd attack of blight. I grow a few varieties of toms, some more resistant than others. I'm normally pretty vigilant, and quarantine or destroy any showing the early signs. Never had a catastrophic epidemic. I've often reused soil without properly keeping track of what it's previously been used for, which I assume increases the likelihood of blight and other diseases.

This year I've shelled out to replace all of the soil in pots, but it's a fair old expense, and I'm wondering if there's a way I can mitigate the disease and pest risks when reusing any soil. Also it's a pain to ferry the pots of soil to the tip, and I have nowhere else to dispose of it. Is plant rotation the key?

1 Answer 1


You should track which pots are used with which, and practice crop rotation in your pots. People recommend normally a 3 year cycle, and some even leave fallow for one year for the soil to recover. The point of all this is to not allow pests, and diseases for a plant to persist in the soil, over wintering to re-emerge for the next year.

It sounds somewhat extreme swapping out the soil. Assuming it was potting mix, then it would be mainly inorganic soil, some stuff to help drainage ( also inorganic ), some organic material ( humus ). You just need to replace the organic material (compost/humus) in order to feed the plants and some fertilizers ( possibly organic as well ).


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