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I used to use Miracle Gro potting mix and it always absorbed water quickly and passed it through the pot. I recently purchased ProMix potting soil to grow some vegetables and I'd like to figure out if something is wrong with the soil.

When I water the ProMix from the top, the water initially pools then drains, but slowly (maybe 30 seconds to a minute), leaving the top of the soil feeling muddy. Slightly below the top the soil still seems dry. When I water from the bottom, it takes over an hour for the moisture to be passed to the soil at the top of a 2" tall pot, and even then not all of the soil seems wet.

Is this a sign that the soil is bad?

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No, the soil is not necessarily bad. This can happen when the soil mix becomes very, very dry due to long storage open to the air. Then it becomes hard to re-wet. A way around this is to wet it with hot water; put the soil into a container that will withstand heat and pour a little hot water over it. Allow it to sit to cool a bit and then use hands to mix up the soil. You should find that the heat and the water vapour given off will penetrate the soil and put it back to a wettable condition with regular water at room temperature. Once moist, store in a closed container to prevent drying again.

| improve this answer | |
  • Unfortunately storing wet pro mix in a sealed bag can promote a white mould.It's great for commercial growers but not as good for homeowners – kevinsky Mar 22 at 11:56

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