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When the holidays are over, I get that itch to begin gardening again. Browsing through seed catalogs on those slow winter days also stirs those gardening desires. After I place my seed orders, I set aside time to disinfect my seed starting supplies and later before transplanting, I will also disinfect all my planting pots.
It is super important to wash and sterilize your seed starting pots and supplies, so that your young tender seedlings don’t pick up any viruses or pathogens from them. If they do, that will weaken or kill your seedlings. After all the hard work that goes into starting your seeds, you don’t want all your efforts to go to waist because you used dirty supplies.
Of course, buying new seed starting pots each year, would be the easiest way to avoid this step, but this is not an option when money is tight. Don’t forget to also wash and disinfect any planting trays or tools that you use for seed starting as well.
Before you can disinfect all your planting trays and seedling pots and 6 packs, you must first remove any and all dirt or potting soil residue from them. This is important, because any dirt or potting soil that remains on them, may weaken the strength of the bleach solution that you need to disinfect them. So don’t miss this crucial step!
First create a warm soapy solution and soak them for a bit. Then use a scrub brush to scrub off any debris that is on them. Then rinse well and let dry.
To disinfect, you will want to add some bleach to water, in a container that you can soak the pots in. Don’t skimp on the bleach, buy a new bottle that is full strength, don’t use an older bottle that has been hanging around for a long time and may have lost some of it’s strength.
Ideally the bleach should be 8.25%, and the proportions should be 2 TBSN’s of bleach to each gallon of water. The solution should be deep enough to submerge the pots completely.
Now that your seedling pots and trays and any other supplies are disinfected, it is time to begin planting your seed, or transplanting your tender seedlings into them.
After you have started all of your seedlings, many of them will need to be up potted into larger pots. These larger pots should also be cleaned and disinfected in the same manor as mentioned above.
I live in a cooler climate here in the Pacific Northwest. Because it is a cooler, shorter growing season here, I choose to grow all of my tomatoes and peppers in pots instead of in the ground. This keeps the roots of the plants warmer which both of these plants appreciate.
So before I do my final transplant into the containers they will be growing in for the summer season, I wash and disinfect those large pots too. It is a huge job, as I grow a LOT of tomatoes and peppers, but it is super important!
I would suggest you do the same for any large pots or containers that you may be planting in as well.