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Smart Thoughts

How to Take Care of Your Smart Pots Through Winter

Caring for your Smart Pots this winter

If you’ve been planting in Smart Pots for awhile, they’re bound to show signs of wear and tear. While those sweet bell peppers were growing inside the containers, some green stuff might have been growing on the outside, too.

Fabric containers are meant to hold their shape and last for many years, but they can’t look brand new forever. Regular use over several seasons might require some Smart Pot TLC. Common indicators are white build up caused by excess salts leached from fertilizers, green algae or moss from too much moisture, or mildew forming on the outside of the pot.

There are several approaches to caring for Smart Pots, depending on whether you leave them outside year round or empty and store them for the next gardening season.

Some gardeners leave their Smart Pots outside because they don’t want to move them. (And storage space can be an issue!) The exteriors of these containers can be cleaned while the pots are still full. Fill a small bucket with a solution of baking soda mixed with water. Use a soft-bristled scrub brush to lightly scrub the pot, removing build up or stains. Then let the container air dry.

Other gardeners choose to empty their Smart Pots and store them indoors during the off season. The easiest way to store containers for reuse is to scoop out the soil and let the bag dry completely. Used soil could be added to the compost pile, spread around the perennial bed or recycled elsewhere in the garden.

After the pot is dry, gently brush off any dust and small roots or rub the sides of the container together to clean the interior. When the pots are dry and clean, simply fold and store them in a protected space like the potting shed, garage or basement.

If the exterior has mineral build up or appears dirty, you can easily wash your Smart Pots to clean and sanitize the containers. OxiClean or a laundry detergent with non-chlorine bleach can do the job. Sterilizing kills any bacteria that remain in pots to keep them fresh for the next season.

Like other washable fabrics, Smart Pots can be machine laundered, hand washed in a tub or soaked in a large bucket of cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse each pot thoroughly. Allow them to air dry only. To maintain their rigidity and shape, keep your Smart Pots out of the dryer.  Check out our FAQs for additional information.

When your pots are completely dry, fold and store them in a clean, dry space. When the next gardening season rolls around, your Smart Pots will be ready to fill and plant. With a little extra care at the end of the season, your Smart Pots can be reused for many years of growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, annual flowers and much more.

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