CO-Horts Blog

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Preparing pots to re-plant for the season

Enjoy a guest post from Adams County Colorado Master Gardener Ted Lopez:

It is time to prepare our pots for planting day.  This entails cleaning the pots and refreshing the soil with a small amount of compost and topping off the soil in the pot.  Besides our gardens, we have around 40 pots of plants to add color and texture to our gardens.

Here are some of the pots that need to be worked.


I use a potting mix and mushroom compost mixture to refresh the soil.

I then empty a pot into a wheelbarrow and combine the mixture.  I usually empty 2-3 pots out at one time.  This cuts down on mixing time. Note: if you have had any disease issues with the plants you grew it's not a good idea to reuse the potting soil. Vegetables should always be started with fresh media. 

With the dirt out of the pot, I clean and inspect the pot.  I clean out the drain holes as needed. Drainage holes are necessary for any pot to ensure good moisture content in the pot. If your pot doesn't have them you can drill several holes in the bottom. 

Some of my pots have inserts.  I clean them and return to the pot.  This pot is ready to be refilled.

Since our other pots do not have an insert, I will need to make one.  We use 1/4 inch thick compressed coconut shreds.  We have used a wide variety of other types of drainage control for our pots but have found this to be the best.  It's light weight, durable but normally needs to be replaced each season. Inserts are useful for keeping the potting media from falling out of the pot. 

I need to measure to cut a appropriate size for the pot.  The coconut shred material comes on a roll.  I use a good set of garden scissors to cut the material.  

Cut a square (trying to cut a circle is labor intensive and not worth the time and effort.).  I then insert it in the pot, and it is ready to be filled.  There is no need to add rocks or other material to the bottom of a pot to "improve drainage". The soil has to become saturated before water will move into the rock at the bottom. If you're using a really large pot you can add material to the bottom to reduce how much soil you need to use. 

The end product. These pots are ready for planting day.