How to Clean and Sterilize Planters and Pots the Right Way

I learned how important it is to sterilize pots and planters after losing an entire crop of cucumbers to the mosaic virus.

I could not understand why all my cucumber plants died so badly. Before I moved them into larger containers, they would be done in their own small pots.

Then he had amazing developmental motivations and was also starting to flourish. Sadly, after a few weeks, the cucumber mosaic virus ejected them all within a few days.

I have never encountered this issue before, so I asked another gardener friend about it. The first thing he asked me was whether I had sterilized the containers before I started transplanting.

“No…? Did I want to?”

Oh yeah Yes you are

Why do you need to sterilize plantations and pots

A fascinating aspect of growing your own food is that there is always more to learn. Also, like being the mother of invention, like necessity, some new skills need to be learned, it is only when you solve a problem.

For example, my experience with mosaic virus.

During the growing season your plants can be destroyed by many different pests and pathogens. Many of these – such as the said bad cucumber mosaic virus – live in the soil.

Better yet (and oh, sarcastically stated), these soil-borne pathogens do not live in dirt: they can stick to the inside of your pots and planters.

In addition, they can become dormant throughout the winter months, only to emerge and destroy their young plants for heating.

The only way to prevent this is to ensure that you clean and sterilize planters, pots and all gardening pots.

How to sterilize planters, pots, trowels, and more

The best thing you can do to clean these babies is with a two-step procedure.

There is one at the end of the growing season before you put everything in for the winter. The second needs to be taken for about a week before transplanting their healthy, happy transplanting in their large containers.

At the end of the growing season, fertilize the plants you have grown and harvested. If you do not have to deal with any pathogens, toss healthy soil still in the compost bin. It will absorb the nutrients that you put into that pile in winter.

* Note: If you have suffered from blots or plant viruses, you need to sterilize and dispose of the soil so that diseases do not spread. To do this, pour boiling water into the container, completely saturating the soil. Do this a few times.

Then, do some research to find soil recycling services in your area. They have the means to completely sterilize the soil, so it is safe to reuse.

Wash everything thoroughly before storing it

Once you empty the containers, wash them thoroughly with warm, soapy water. While you’re at it, wash out all the tools you’ve used in the garden. Spades, trowels, snips, saws – virtually anything that came into contact with plants or soil during the growing season.

Set them on a towel or wire to dry in the sun. As an added bonus, the sun will not just dry these items: it will also help disinfect them.

Once well dried, wrap these items in newspaper or burlap and dry them for winter. I keep my supplies in my shed, but if you don’t have one, keep them in a closet, garage, or basement room.

Clean them out again

If you are growing your plants with seeds, you usually have to count backwards from your last frost date to determine where to start the seeds. That way, they will be ready to pop in pots and planters to keep out as the weather warms.

Add “planter-prepping” to your list of household chores for spring. Sterilization of planters, pots and tools one week before planting.

Remember Gear! You are going to work with some caustic material, so be as safe as possible. Use rubber gloves, protective eyewear, clothing that you are not afraid of bleach damage, etc.

Give them a bath

Okay, first things first.

To sterilize everything, fill your bathtub with warm, not hot water. Then, add enough chlorine bleach, so that the ratio of water is 1: 9 bleach. So if you use one gallon of molasses of bleach, add nine gallons of hot water to dilute it. The reason is that you are using hot water instead of hot, so you do not eliminate bleach steam.

Unplug the planters and pots with your burlap or paper coverings, and place them in water. Do this slowly rather than bouncing them, so you are less likely to separate yourself.

If you can completely submerge excellent pots and planters. Allow these bleach to soak for 15-20 minutes. This should be enough time to kill any viruses or juvenile pests that are lurking in various nooks and cranes.

If you can’t completely submerge them, then let them sit as they are for 15-20 minutes. Then repeat this process after ensuring that each side soaks for a reasonable amount of time.

I would recommend doing the same with your trowels, spades, etc. You cannot really be very careful when you talk about cleanliness here.

Once soaked, remove the bleached water. Then refill with soapy water, scrub everything with a cleaning brush, and rinse it all with warm water.

Then dry each piece thoroughly and set them aside in a clean, warm, dry room. They should sit for at least a week to allow any residual bleach to evaporate.

After that week is over, they will be ready to use and replenish soil and sprouts (or for straight-sown species).

Avoid cross contamination

Remember that cross-contamination does not occur only through objects. If you are getting really diligent about keeping infectious pathogens out of your garden, be careful about visitors there too.

You do not want to go through all the work just to sterilize planters and pots, so that your plants are contaminated by interpolators.

This may sound like a charming, rustic idea in which gardening and farming friends come in, but be careful. Remember that all types of viruses and unwanted insects can ride on people.

If they have wiped their hands on their clothes after working in the garden and then get close to their plants, boom. Diseases and pests can jump.

If anyone other than you and your immediate family will visit your garden, put them through a decontamination station first. An additional set of clothes and shoes are available, so they do not wear any of your items in your place.

Secondly, ban any domestic animal other than your garden. Those pathogens and insects will not just ride human hosts. I know someone whose entire garden was engulfed by a red mite after the neighbor’s dog entered the farm.

Use healthy soil

It should go away without saying, but if you are going to contaminate them again with bad soil it makes no sense to go through all the trouble to sterilize planters, pots and equipment.

Ideally, in an ideal garden environment, you would have a heap of healthy, nutrient-rich compost. If you do not already have an established compost system, however, you may have to purchase new soil from a local garden center.

Try to buy the highest quality soil you can afford. Then the species is growing for you as needed to modify it. For example, carrots and other rooted vegetables require a lot of gardening sand in the soil.

Leafy greens may require additional nitrogen, while heavy feeders such as melons and squash will require a lot of phosphorus-rich organic matter.

Clean your soil by cleaning fallen leaves and other detergents as often as possible.

Introduce natural predatory insects such as ladyfingers and leswing to keep unwanted insects under control. Feed and water each species according to your needs, and try not to add water to anything.

If you find the first signs of soil borne pathogens appearing on your soil plants, act quickly. Burn and destroy those plants immediately, and do not put any part of them in your compost pile.

Dig out the contaminated soil, and treat the container immediately with bleach.

Additionally, be sure to clean and disinfect the area where the planter was sitting, to prevent the spread of the pathogen. As long as you are hardworking, you should be able to keep the rest of your plants safe.

Remember that one ounce of prevention is worth one pound of cure. The more effort you put into keeping the environment clean, the less chance you will have of losing your precious plants.

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