Less Noise, More Green: Disinfecting seedling pots

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Disinfecting seedling pots

I grew a lot of seedlings this year.

I have thoroughly enjoyed using grow lights this year. I was able to get stronger plants into the ground earlier and was able to grow a wider variety of plants, flowers and herbs.  I plan on using them again next growing season and every season after that!
Part of preparing for growing seedlings indoors next year is to sanitize all the equipment that came into contact with the growing mediums this year.  Bacteria or fungi, such as Rhizoctonia (causes damping off) and Pythium (root rot) can live on in caked on soil or root debris. If your seedlings had diseases you shouldn’t reuse the pots they grew in. All other pots and trays should be washed and disinfected before they are stored for the winter.
As I grew a lot of seedlings this year I had a lot of pots to wash. Ugh. I had been putting it off but as the days were getting darker, shorter and colder and I had to do this task outside, I took advantage of the warm temperature this weekend and got the job done.

First step was to get as much of the dry dirt out of the pots. 

I thoroughly washed the pots in hot soapy water, making sure I removed any roots clinging to the holes in the bottom of the pots. The containers were then rinsed in clean water.


I made a disinfecting solution using chlorine bleach. The formula is one part bleach to nine parts water, or 0.5% strength. The half- life of this solution is two hours so I made the solution right before I used it. Half-life is the time it takes for a solution to only be half as effective as when initially made.

I soaked all the pots for thirty minutes, then rinsed them with clean water. 

Once dry, the pots were stacked and stored for next year.

That's better!

 This job was not how I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon but I will be very glad I was conscientious when I have healthy seedlings next spring! I thought about recycling all the pots and starting fresh but the pots I had were still in good shape and reusing them was the right thing to do. Responsible and conscientious – living on the edge as usual.

I hope your Saturday was more exciting than mine!


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