Cleanliness is important!
I’ve been taking inventory of the various pots, trays and covers we’ve collected over the years. I think I have enough pots and cel trays but I see some of the watering saucers are torn and I need a few new covers as well.
All of these are currently in the laundry room and this afternoon I plan on vacuuming any remaining soil out of them and then line them up for a good washing in the laundry tub.
Cleaning used trays and pots may seem redundant, as they will be filled with seed starting potting soil within a short time. What I’m really doing is taking some additional insurance to help ensure that my seedlings will be healthy and thrive. It guarantees that I’m starting out the year without disease, fungus or insects that may have overwintered somewhere on the plastic.
To wash them out, I fill the laundry tub with warm water and add a few tablespoons of chlorine bleach. I use a soft bristled brush to clean out the individual cels, trays and pots. Always allow them to air dry before stacking.
Cleanliness is also very important with cut flowers. Vases should be spotless before adding fresh water and flowers to them. Floral foam used for arrangements should only be used once and although I usually use it a few times more, used foam can harbor bacteria each time it’s used. Bacteria in the water will cause blockages in the capillaries and prevent flowers from hydrating themselves. Floral preservative helps prevent bacteria, as can a few drops of chlorine bleach or a tablespoon (15ml) of Listerine.
If you want your flowers to last, change the water and clean the vase daily. Give the stems of the flowers a clean cut on an angle with a sharp knife and rearrange. Cutting the ends just before putting them in water removes any callous or air bubbles that prevent the flowers from taking up water.
A little cleanliness goes a long way in growing and showing healthy, vigorous plants.