While no one in Minnesota has a right to complain about it being cold in November, I can’t help but feel we are being rushed into winter this year. Just two Mondays ago, the temperatures were near 70 and I was scooting around town on my bike. Shortly after that, the bottom fell out. We’ve had snow, slush, rain, cold, colder, and gray, gray, gray for the past couple of weeks.
Saturday, at least the sun was out, so I headed outside to do some last minute chores, including taking the last of my lawn waste to the city compost pile and emptying and cleaning out my containers. Cleaning containers is a big job, but I’ve been convinced (mostly by Master Gardener Terry Yockey) that it’s essential to do in order to prevent diseases from spreading from year to year. You can do this in the spring, too, but I like to get it done in the fall.
First, dump out the soil and spent plants and roots. (It’s not a good idea to re-use potting soil. Put it in the compost, instead.) Then, I take a stiff brush and get as much soil off the inside of the pot as possible. Plastic pots tend to clean up easily, but roots and dirt really like to stick to terra cotta. When the pots have been brushed out, wash them in a big sink with laundry detergent and bleach. Rinse them well, let them dry and put them away for winter. When spring comes, you’re ready to go.