Let’s start with what a grow bag actually is. Simply put, this is a special bag that you grow produce in.
More specifically, it is a lightweight and easy-to-store sack, usually made from polypropylene or burlap. The woven fabric allows for the air to circulate and the roots to breathe, as well as draining excess water to prevent root rot.
As the bags do not have a rigid structure, like traditional ceramic pots, they are easy to store, but also require less space when set up for the avid gardener with minimal room.
There are lots of benefits to reap from using grow bags, including the following:
- Environmentally friendly. Being made from recycled materials such as spun-bound polypropylene, they have a low impact on the environment as well as being suitable and safe for use in the garden.
- Easy to move, clean, and store. At the end of the season, they can be easily cleaned and folded for storage. Even when in use, the bags are easy to move, so they can always be placed in the ideal location.
- Inexpensive. Being reasonably priced, they are a low-cost way to create planting beds in areas where there is no soil or there are other challenges.
- Easy to harvest. Being relatively shallow, it makes harvesting root vegetables easier.
While there are many more benefits to using grow bags, there are also some
important factors to remember, especially when setting them up. These include the following:
The best soils for grow bags
Every gardener knows the importance of using the right soil for the right plant, and this extends to grow bags as well. By using the correct combination of soil and fertilizers, you can get bumper crops every year.
Regular garden soil is heavy. When put into a container like a grow bag, even with its flexibility, it will compact downward, becoming solid and preventing the roots from growing properly.
Roots need oxygen as well as water. If the soil becomes too compact, it prevents the air from penetrating, and the roots essentially suffocate and die.
The recommended mixture to get a light and easily aerated soil is a combination of
⅓ compost, ⅓ moss (coconut coir or peat), and ⅓ vermiculite.
Another important addition is mulch. Even in containers, produce will grow much better when mulch is added, as this helps to keep the top soil moist.
Plant selection is key
Grow bags are great for growing many things, but we wouldn’t recommend planting pine trees in them. Make sure you know what you want, where the bag will be placed, and the type of crop you are looking to harvest.
Grow bags are typically used for herbs and vegetables. Note, though, that vegetables that have a shallow root system will thrive.
Things like brassicas, salad greens, and radishes love being in grow bags, but you can also grow “dwarf” versions of some vegetables such as “Minnesota Midget”, cantaloupe, or “Jack be little” pumpkins.
With the proper cultivation and environment, any plant can grow well and succeed
with a bountiful crop. Grow bags add to this with the ability to drain excess water and aerate the soil.
Grow-bag plants need more frequent fertilization and watering
Providing great aeration means a quicker drying-out process. Small spaces mean that the life-giving nutrients in the soil are depleted faster, or washed out due to frequent watering.
While the advantages of grow bags are many, there are a few disadvantages such as drying out and loss of nutrients. However, these are easily overcome.
Setting a reminder on your calendar or phone to regularly add fertilizer to your plants (but more often than you would do for plants in beds) will help you to stay on top of their nutritional needs.
This is particularly important once the plants have grown enough to fill the container to its maximum. This doesn’t mean that the plants have grown to maturity; rather, they now fill the container.
Installing an automatic watering system will take the stress out of remembering to water them on a regular basis. This could be as much as once a day during the height of summer. However, this does not negate the need to check them to ensure you are not over-watering them.
How to choose the best grow bag
The best bags are made from heavy-duty materials, typically from a spun-bound fabric, such as polypropylene, as this has the best and most proven staying power to ensure longevity.
It is also the most inexpensive material and, therefore, the most cost-effective for a gardener of any skill level. Some people will state that the colour of the bag is also important.
However, there are things to consider if choosing a bag for its colour. Black and White Bages add the extra benefit of keeping the soil cool by reflecting the light away from the bag.
Most are aesthetically designed (like green or blue) to blend into the rest of the garden. Depending on the thickness of the material in the bag, though, colour shouldn’t make a big difference.
The key thing to remember is that roots don’t like light. That’s why they are in the ground. The darker it is, the better for them to thrive. In this case, black bags are always the winner and are the go-to bags for practicality and budget-friendly solutions.
Grow Bags: Quickly Becoming a Gardener’s Best Friend
Grow bags are growing in popularity, as they offer space solutions on a budget while being environmentally safe. Write for us Travel By allowing you to place them in the optimal locations for a bumper crop to grow, they are proving their worth with every crop harvested.
Despite the risk of soil drying out due to excellent aeration and nutrients leaching out because of the extra watering, the advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages in the long run.
Thus, it is easy to see wny people are favouring the grow bags today, and how gardeners of all levels are taking full advantage of their uses and flexibility.