Containers have many great uses. They can bring wonderful plants to areas of your yard, garden, patio, or apartment that otherwise would be barren. They can also be used to experiment while you’re mixing and matching new plants. They even make great gifts for that person who enjoys all that comes with caring for plants!
Follow these steps and your containers will be clean and free of anything that might be harmful to your plants. Check out this tutorial for Vegetable Container Gardening Tips for Beginners!
Use a Stiff-bristle Brush
A thorough onceover with a stiff-bristled brush will remove most of the dirt, as well as any insects and eggs that might be wintering in the container.
Stop Calcium Buildup
Calcium deposits build up through excess levels of calcium in fertilizer and water used over the course of the growing season. It is rare for calcium to build up to such high levels but when it does, the calcium will be competing with the magnesium and potassium uptake. This creates deficiencies for these two components which can affect your plants.
There are several methods to address the deposits. A 25% mixture of lemon juice to water, 20% mixture of vinegar and water, or a baking soda and vinegar paste. The paste needs to be applied thick and allowed to sit for 15-20 minutes, then scrub with a toothbrush and rinse. After cleaning the container, allow them to air dry before use.
Eliminate Disease and Insects
A 20% bleach to water or vinegar to water mixture will work well to disinfect the container. A terracotta pot must be soaked and fully submerged in the mixture due to the open pores of the terracotta.
If you have a large number of containers that need to be soaked you might want to bring them to the bathtub or acquire a large tub. Mix enough solution to address the entire batch in one sitting if possible. Submerge the containers for 10 minutes.
Rinse and Prepare
Identify the tools you will need and make sure they are in good repair, clean, and sanitized. Terracotta pots should be soaked in clean water for another 10 minutes to remove the bleach from the pores within the terracotta. Plastic containers can be rinsed with clean water.
All containers should be allowed to air dry before being used.