Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fall CleanUp

I thought today I would post about how I do my fall cleanup for any new container gardener who may be wondering what should be done. It is important to store your containers as clean as you possibly can to prevent bacteria from causing undue problems next year. I dump everything out, use the hose to spray off all the clinging dirt, then swish them through a solution of bleach and water to kill the germs. It is much easier to do if you have a big container to fill with the water and bleach (I just dump about a cup full of bleach in the big container below.) Sometimes I also put some dish soap in, but not always. A long handled brush (like a toilet brush) works great. I then toss them around the yard in the sun to dry completely before stacking them for winter storage.

This is the ideal way to clean them all--but, let's get serious, it doesn't always happen. I rarely get them all done in one day. More often than not the last few containers do not get the bleach treatment because I am in a hurry to get them done. I just brush the snow off (almost every year some of them get snowed on), spray them out with the hose and that's it. The truth is I have never had any problems with fungus or disease when using the bleachless containers. I always read that one should do it, so I still do -- at least during the initial cleanup.


  1. That looks like too much work to me! Kudos for your determination. I know it is the correct way to do things. I just can't see wasting all that potting soil. When I replant things in the spring, I scope out about 1/2 of it. The only problem I see is if ants have gotten in the pot or if grass seeds have gotten in there. If the plant had long roots, then the potting soil is shot. And I can't forget the snake that was dead on the basement floor last Thanksgiving! Maybe I will clean out the pots going down the basement if there isn't room in the shed.

  2. snake in the basement? Yikes!
    I do save the soil in the biggest containers (half barrels). It is just too expensive to buy 4 or 5 bags every year to fill them. I will just leave them outside on the deck all winter.

  3. Great stuff...I need to clean out my big barrel to take with me in November...not leaving that one. LOL


  4. Good idea about saving your potting soil-duh, slaps head! I guess I need to take that a step further and clean out the big pots.
    Still enjoying the flowers, though the night time temp will be in the upper 40s tonight. I brought in my mini-palm plant (which I bought at Walmarts to remind me of our trip to Florida this year).

  5. I usually dump the old soil in the beds or compost pile. but washing them all looks like too much work ! lol

  6. It's that perfectionist thing again isn't it Zoey.... I think you are a crazy mad Queen of the Garden. I dump everything in the compost(unless diseased) and can't be bothered cleaning the containers until the spring. I don't use bleach though just soapy water.

  7. I am lazy after I empty pots I leave them in the rain for awhile before putting them in the shed.


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