While it might be tempting to ignore cleaning until spring, don’t put it off. Before cold weather settles in, empty, clean, sanitize and store garden containers for winter.
After a long summer outdoors, garden containers can harbor insect eggs, weed seeds or diseases in the soil. Minerals and salts can build up, especially on clay, leaving them looking whitewashed. If not cleaned, salts can burn the roots of next year’s plants. Plus, cleaning up now means you’ll be one step ahead come spring.
Cleaning and Storing Containers:
- Compost healthy plants and soil. Diseased or pest-ridden plants and soil should go in the trash.
- Discard badly cracked or chipped pots.
- Brush inside and outside the pots to remove salts, soil and debris.
- Soak pots for at least 15 minutes in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, completely covering pots. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
- Scrub pots with soapy water. Rinse and air dry.
- Store clean containers upside down in a dry area. If stacking pots, place a sheet of newspaper between each one so they don’t stick together.