The lone voice of horticultural reason

“Place the broken shards of an old clay pot over the drainage hole in the bottom of containers to keep the potting soil from seeping out.”

 I love this one. Every book, magazine and newspaper article on container gardening ever written is sure to include this advice. Early on in my gardening career, I actually purchased a cheap clay pot and broke it, as I lacked the apparently necessary pottery shards with which to facilitate my first meager attempts at crafting my own containers.

Do you know where this advice comes from? The 15th century. That’s what gardeners had to use before the advent of coffee filters, or plastic screen material that one can purchase at any hardware store.

A couple of coffee filters, or a patch of plastic screening (which you can easily cut with scissors) placed over the drainage hole(s) in your containers prior to adding the potting soil will serve better. Leave the broken clay shard technique to the peasants of the late Middle Ages.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener