Thursday, August 10, 2017

Smart Pots Grow Smart Plants

I'm in my sixth season of using Smart Pots to grow vegetables. Just like last summer I'm using them to grow tomatoes, basil and potatoes. The only difference this year is that the plants are growing better, in a way, smarter - they are very healthy, disease free and producing. I credit two reasons for this - using Smart Pot containers and the consistent, sunny and mostly hail-free weather conditions.

Hard to see but six Smart Pots growing potatoes
If you are unfamiliar with Smart Pots then you're missing out on one of the easiest, plant and root growing friendly containers on the market. These felt-like, reusable, lightweight containers ensure garden growing success for anyone. Smart pots have been described as the cotton shirt of the container world. Why? Plants growing in porous Smart Pots don't get as hot - they breathe, allowing air to flow through the container and around the plant. The plant feels comfortable, just like we feel when wearing a cotton shirt. 

Roots in Smart Pots subsequently grow larger and don't end up up growing in circles like they do in other hard material containers. Once a root in a Smart Pot reaches the side of the fabric, the root forms new roots that will grow up, down or side-to-side in a process known as air root pruning. No root girdling, just lots more healthy, happy, fibrous root growth!
'New Big Dwarf' Organic Tomato
They are very affordably priced and come in several sizes and three colors. I'm using black #15s for potatoes, #20s for tomatoes and big bag bed mini for basil.

Try new plant varieties or tuck Smart Pots anywhere in the landscape where there's good sun and easy access to water. Gardeners appreciate that they can be used during the growing season and easily emptied, folded and stored over the winter. Try the wall flower saddle planter over railings, gates or fences. The sidewall opening on the transplanters come in very handy for potting up plants as they grow larger.

Fill them with quality sterile potting soil at the beginning of each gardening season and plant or seed just as you would in any other container. Over watering is practically impossible with the porous nature of the container. Smart Pots will provide many seasons of use before needing to be replaced.

Use a tray or tarp underneath so soil won't seep out onto concrete or wood surfaces. If used on bare ground, no need to use anything under the Smart Pot. They are growing on the small rock mulch near my raised beds. I water daily on hot days and fertilize plants twice a month.

Lettuce Leaf Basil in Mini Raised Bed - Veil for Insect Protection
My new technique to grow basil is to heavily over seed a mini raised bed, then harvest as micro basil greens or allow them to grow to two sets of leaves. In a few short weeks there are plenty of greens to use fresh in salads or pesto with plenty left over to process in oil for freezing.

There's still time to seed more basil, and while you're at it, get going on the third or fall season of gardening with your favorite leafy greens.

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