Cleanliness is Next to Godliness


Clean pots drying in the sun.

Well, I’m not sure about the godliness, but cleanliness is important when it comes to growing plants.

I finally got round to washing the pots from all my vegetable seedlings today. They had been stacked just outside the shed door, waiting—calling out to me every time I went in or out of the shed. I managed to ignore them for several weeks.

It’s tempting to just put away the empty pots after planting out. It’s such a busy time of year, and washing pots is tedious. But I’ve learned that it must be done. If I don’t wash the pots, next year my seedlings will be plagued with disease. They’ll grow poorly, or die outright.

In truth, I don’t know that for a fact. I haven’t studied it scientifically, but in my experience, I have bad seedling growth if I plant in dirty pots. So I wash.

The pots don’t need to be perfectly clean—I swish them out with a brush in a bucket of water, then dry them in the sun. It’s actually probably the UV radiation that kills any pathogens, not so much the cleaning. But whatever it is, it works. A little extra care now, and next year’s crops will get off to a good start.

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