How To Sterilize Soil?

How To Sterilize Soil – The Ultimate Guide

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you can never leave anything to chance. Yes, even the soil is never to be trusted as it can act as a conduit for the transmission of the novel virus. If you grow garden crops, flowers, and other plants, you must know how to sterilize them. We have researched and are going to explain a couple of trusted methods of how to sterilize soil in the discussions below.

The Critical Methods on How To Sterilize Soil

Below are the common methods of sterilization and the steps that each entails:

Method 1: How to sterilize soil in the oven?

This entails the use of ovens to sterilize the soil. It is faster and mainly applicable at times when there is an insufficient amount of sunshine outdoors.

What you need to sterilize soil?

  • Oven
  • Oven-safe container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Thermometer

Follow these steps to sterilize soil:

Step I: Place the soil in the oven-safe container

Kick start the exercise by placing 4 inches or 10 cm of soil in an oven-safe container. These could take the form of a metal baking pan or glass. Cover the same using Aluminum foil. Wrap the soil completely to prevent the direct exposure of the same to the years of heat.

Step II: Bake the soil in the oven

Switch the oven on and let it commence the baking process. You are advised to bake it to a temperature threshold of about 180-200°F (82-93°C.) for no less than 30 minutes. You need to pay adequate attention to the baking process to see to it that it does not exceed the allotted timeframe.

Step III: Terminate the baking process

You should terminate the baking process if and when the 30-minute threshold has lapsed. Alternatively, you should also ensure that the temperature does not exceed the 180°F (82 C) threshold. In case this happens, toxins are naturally bound to arise that may ultimately destroy the living organisms in the soil.

Step IV: Remove from the oven and allow to cool

You should now remove the soil from the oven and allow it to cool. Do not leave the soil in the oven after you have switched off the power supply. Instead, get it out immediately. Even after you have removed the soil from the oven, leave the foil intact until the soil is completely cooled.

Method 2: How to sterilize soil in the sun?

It is a popular method of sterilizing the soil that uses the power of the sun. You will find it largely relevant in the summer or when you are short on the necessary resource base.

What you need to sterilize soil?

  • Black or clear plastic container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Anchors
  • Rakes

Follow these steps to sterilize soil:

Step I: Prepare your soil

Prepare your soil before the sterilization exercise typically by eliminating all the dirt clods and other debris. Then, irrigate the soil to bring about some air pockets in between the plastic container and the earth. Cover the soil using a clear plastic if in an area where there is abundant sun and darker plastic in cooler areas.

Step II: Shine Anchor the plastic down tightly

Anchor the plastic container in which the soil you want to sterilize is contained. You do this by digging a trench around and about the garden. Alternatively, you may also make use of the anchors or even make do with rocks to hold the container firmly in its place.

Step III: Let the soil get sterilized

After doing all the above, you should now leave the soil exposed to external weather elements. This will let the rays of the sun bombard the soil and kill off all germs. The entire process is to take around 4-6 weeks. This process also breaks down the plant matter to boost the availability of the plant nutrients.

Method 3: How to sterilize soil with boiling water?

As its name implies, this is the use of boiling water to eliminate all contaminants from the soil and make it a lot safer. The process is mainly recommended for those areas that experience higher levels of precipitation.

What you need to sterilize soil?

  • Boiling pan with lid
  • Rack
  • Clean plastic bags
  • Aluminum foil

Adhere to the steps below on how to sterilize soil using this approach:

Step I: Boil water in a pan

Fill the pan with water and cover it. Then, go ahead and boil it. The water has to bubble to indicate that the same has attained the maximum temperature. Do not get the lid off as that may interfere with the boiling of the water.

Step II: Pour the soil into the rack above the pan

Now, pour the soil into the rack above the pan. Proceed by covering it with Aluminum foil to prevent direct contact with the boiling water. Covering also ensures maximum exposure and contact between the soil and the steam for maximum sterilization. Leave no spaces and even use dual layers of foil.

Step III: Channel the flow of the steam appropriately

This is not the core of the entire sterilization process. At this stage, you have to channel the flow of the steam appropriately. Find a way of letting the steam flow through a small opening to the layers of the soil. It is this exercise that lets the steam sterilize the soil accordingly.

Step IV: Leave the arrangement intact for some time

For maximum sterilization impacts, you have to leave the arrangement intact for quite some time. We recommend no less than 30 minutes. You may extend this time slightly longer if you have a higher volume of soil. Do not make it too long though as that may give rise to toxins and damage the microorganisms.

Step V: Cool and store

After the steam has mixed completely with the soil, you have to leave the soil undisturbed for some time to cool off completely. Do not touch the soil at this stage lest you contaminate it further. After it is completely cooled, you need to package it in some plastic bags and then store it for future use.

Method 4: How to sterilize soil with hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide is a potent chemical that has been relied on considerably for eliminating all germs from surfaces and soil alike. It is mainly applicable for settings where the soil is too dirty and contaminated for the normal sterilization techniques.

What you need to sterilize soil?

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Teaspoons
  • 1 gallon of water
  • Cup
  • Plastic container
  • Aluminum foil

Follow these steps to sterilize soil:

Step I: Make a Hydrogen peroxide mixture appropriately

Prepare a Hydrogen peroxide mixture appropriately. There are two ways of going about it:

  • Add 2 teaspoons of the 35% hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of water
  • Mix 2½ cups of the 3% hydrogen peroxide with 5 gallons of water

Step II: Prepare the soil

You should now prepare the soil for the subsequent task of sterilization. Simply pour the soil into a plastic container. Plastic is strongly recommended for the job as it is less reactive than its metallic counterparts. Dig through the soil to allow for the smoother inflow of the chemicals.

Step III: Pour the mixture into the soil

Proceed now to pour the mixture into the soil. Sprinkle the mixture atop the soil and then turn every now and then to have the same mix thoroughly with the soil. Ensure that at the tail end of the mixing, every part and aspect of the soil is completely covered and properly handled by the mixture.

Step IV: Leave the chemicals to work on the soil

After you are through with the above steps, you now have to leave the soil undisturbed to let the chemicals have maximum impacts. This may take 2-3 days. Do not touch the soil at this stage to prevent the possibility of contaminating it further. Cover the soil using Aluminum foil for maximum safety.

Method 5: How to sterilize soil with bleach?

Bleach may also be used to sterilize the soil over and above merely getting your clothes clean. It is mainly used for extremely dangerous bacteria and fungi that are beyond the reach of ordinary sterilizers.

What you need to sterilize soil?

  • Bleach
  • Ceramic or clay pot

Follow these steps to sterilize soil:

Step I: Find the right bleach for the job

The first and perhaps the most difficult step is to find the right bleach for the job. We strongly recommend the 10% to 20% bleach as these two are the strongest and the most effective ones that the markets have to provide at the moment.

Step II: Prepare the bleach mixture

Prepare the bleach now mainly by mixing it with water in the right proportion. The proportion depends on the potency you are angling. If you want the 20% potency to see to it that you mix the bleach and the water in the ratio of 1:4. Make the ratio 1:9 if you are eyeing 10% potency.

Step III: Soak the bleach in the soil

Now that you have made the bleach appropriately you should sprinkle the same on the soil carefully and steadily. Give the bleach around 20-30 minutes to soak and bring about maximum impacts. Do not touch the soil at that time to prevent further contamination of the soil.

Step IV: Rinse the soil

Bleaches are generally very powerful. You should never leave them on the soil. Instead, you have to wash and rinse them from the soil. Leaving them on the soil may also give rise to toxins that may ultimately imperil the health of the plants. Rinse off the bleach using clean water.

Things To Remember During This Process

While sterilizing the soil, you have to bear these things in mind:

  • Care for the plants and the organisms that you intend to plant in the soil
  • Factor in your financial resource base
  • What about the expertise you have? Is it sufficient to tackle the chore?
  • How about the time you have at your disposal?
  • Do not forget about the protective attires like face masks, gloves, and aprons

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Adhere to these tips as you go about this exercise:

  • Put on the necessary protective attire like aprons, overall, and a pair of gloves
  • Read and adhere strictly to the instructions that govern the tackling of each act of sterilization
  • Keep children and passersby away from the work areas to minimize accidents and other dangers

As you sterilize the soil, be careful to stay away from the following dangers:

  • Never work in poorly lit or improperly ventilated areas to prevent respiratory tract infections
  • Hurry or rush the exercise as this may give rise to poor outcomes

Final Verdict

There you go now! The steps we have laid down and explained above are indeed able to take you further and higher insofar as sterilizing your soils is concerned. Is it too much for us to leave you now to implement them? We care for your success. That is why we are open to your feedback as regards the relevance and the efficacy of the steps above of how to sterilize soil. Do let us know how you found them to be.

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