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A Gardening Life – May 29

Have you ever planted a large or heavy container in the spring only to wonder how you’re going to save those plants once fall arrives? You might not want to drag such pots or boxes inside, yet you don’t wish to dig the plants out and disturb their roots either. It might have occurred to you that a liner pot that you could slip in and out of the larger container would be a good idea…but finding a liner that fits perfectly can be problematic.

In these cases, or for those instances when you don’t want to fill the entire container with soil, it’s time to get smart. Smart Pots, that is.  I’ve written before about using Smart Pots to grow veggies. But this spring it dawned on me that these are the perfect container liners as well. Since they are soft they’ll conform to any shape of pot or box. There are Smart Pots available in a variety of sizes and some of them even have handles which would make lifting them in and out of your pots even easier.

This year I purchased some large metal troughs that I want to use as planters. These are normally used for water for livestock, so they are pretty large, and I knew that I didn’t want to fill the entire trough with soil. Here’s what I did:

I got these Behlen Country Tanks on Amazon. They have a hole near the bottom for drainage.

I needed something to hold the smart pots up a bit and so I used a plastic plant crate and some upside down flower pots. You can just see here, at the bottom of the tank, some Mosquito Dunks. Since if it's very rainy about an inch of water can accumulate in the bottom of these tanks, I added the Mosquito Dunks that will kill off mosquito larvae if they start to hatch in this area. The round hockey-puck shape under the crate is one of the dunks.

I measured the depth and width of the tank and ordered the appropriate Smart Pots to fill the area. (Note: I took the label out of the bottom before filling this bag with soil.)

Here's how one of the tanks looked once the Smart Pots were filled with potting soil.

This is how the tank looks after I finished planting it tonight. It will be much more attractive once the King Tut papyrus, Canna, and other upright plants take off. The sweet potato vine and Dorotheanthus bellidiformis 'Mezoo Trailing Red' will cascade over the edge to soften the look of the container. I think that I'll love the contrast between the metal and the plants.

I’ll post photos in a month or so once the plants start to fill out. In the fall I can lift the two Smart Pots out of the tank. I can either overwinter the plants in these fabric bags in the garage, or empty them. Either way the Smart Pots will make the entire process much easier.

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