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Starting out w soil....and using compost?

hi all,

I need to start a few new containers on my deck, in part to combine in larger ones, in part to start out. How do I figure out if I can reuse old soil, or should start new? Especially for transplants. Until now I have not been doing well at avoiding the self-watering soil along with some of their fertilizer that you can buy. I really want to stop that even if it means having less produce for a while. I know I watched the info in some of the videos but I can't remember everything to build up healthy soil outside of the coffee grounds, mycorrhiza, fish fertilizer. Compost of course too though I can't currently compost nor do I have the energy for the indoor or worm composting (though I'm thinking of buying earthworm castings or even sign up for a local, monthly (I think) compost service).

This is, first, mostly for kitchen herbs like chives, parsley, marjoram, thyme, sage, then later spinach, radishes etc. and even later my tomatoes.

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