Smart Pot Spring Garden Checklist
After all the time spent dreaming about the spring garden, it’s time to get ready for the actual planting. Despite all the advances in garden technology, those colorful containers of flowers and beautiful tomato plants won’t plant themselves.
Some dread the task of garden preparation for the spring but planting in Smart Pots helps streamline the process. Getting containers ready for planting takes less time and energy than hauling out the cultivator or using a shovel to prepare a typical garden bed. Because the containers are lightweight and portable, you can place them where other gardens can’t grow.
The basic spring garden prep work for Smart Pots includes selecting the soil, preparing the fabric containers, arranging the containers, and filling or refreshing them.
Selecting the Soil
The best soil for container gardening is a light-weight, soilless potting mix that easily drains excess water. This type of soil helps keep plant roots hydrated and healthy. Look for a potting soil meant for containers and one that includes a slow-release fertilizer or vermicompost for added nutrients. You can also make your own potting mix and adapt the recipe to fit your specific growing needs.
Never use ordinary garden soil in your Smart Pots. Garden soil is typically too dense for good drainage and it can also harbor insect pests that may have overwintered in the garden.
Preparing Fabric Containers
For new Smart Pot containers, simply remove any paper tags, unfold pots and they’re ready to use.
For previously used fabric containers that were stored indoors for winter, take them out of storage to prepare for planting. If necessary, these Smart Pots can be machine washed to sanitize and then left to air dry.
For Smart Pots that spent the winter outside, wait for the soil to dry before working in it. In the meantime, use a soft-bristled scrub brush and a solution of baking soda and water to clean the outside of caked salt or moss. Let dry.
It’s a good idea to place Smart Pots before filling them with soil. Arrange larger Smart Pots, like Long Beds and Big Bag Beds, where you’ve planned your garden. Your back will thank you for arranging the containers before filling them with soil.
Filling or Refreshing Containers
There’s no need to place rocks or broken pottery in the bottom of a Smart Pot to improve drainage. Anything other than the potting mix will hinder drainage and hamper root growth.
Fill containers with potting soil to about once inch below the rim of the pot. Some settling may occur after watering, so be prepared to add more soil before planting.
For containers that are already filled, remove some soil from the center of the container, loosen the soil with a hand spade, trowel or other garden tool and refresh with new soil. If plants in the container had insects or plant diseases the previous season, it’s best to empty the soil into the compost bin, clean the containers and refill with fresh soil.
Water the potting mix slowly and thoroughly. This step may take time to get all the soil saturated. The end result should be a moist, well-drained soil that’s perfect for spring planting.