A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Spring is here. The sun is shining. It’s 55 degrees outside.

Radishes and peppercress have been planted…and the bugs have emerged.

The thyme that had nearly made it through its indoor winter has been ravaged by aphids. A trip to the basement revealed the lone bag of organic soil crawling with what appear to be fungus gnats.  The thyme has been rinsed and then doused with soapy water. Fingers have been crossed.

Unable to toss away an entire bag of soil, it’s time to give sterilizing a shot. Because it’s very, very rarely used, the microwave lives conveniently in the basement, just above the infested soil. Perfect. A quick visit to the interweb reveled that the trick is to heat the soil to 150-190 degrees (anything over 200 degrees causes toxicity in the soil).

Armed with a kitchen scale, one quart measuring cup, and an instant read thermometer (don’t tell the husband/cook),  POD discovered that 1:30 to 1:45 in the ancient, tiny microwave heated a one-pound bag of soil to the desired creepy-crawly killing temperature.

Here’s the question, though: should the seeds that were just started be ditched and re-seeded in sterilized soil?

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