How To Get The Best Use of Your Grow Bags?
The question on whether bags, pots and border growing is important in greenhouses has always existed; the answer highly depends on the plants you are planning to grow and your circumstances. Best grow bags are a simple yet clever idea that any grower can employ. The compost contained in the bag never lose water through evaporation and near end of the year, a grower can remove the compost from his/her greenhouse and use it in general soil improvement.
And because financial pressures have highly driven prices down, most suppliers are always working. Therefore, you can easily get a high quality grow bags for plants. You have the option of inserting bottomless buckets full of compost or to cut out a base of one bag to combine it with another of more decent size.
Mostly, grow bags feature markings for the cut outs into which growers plant their seedlings. Distributors recommend planting of up to three plants in every bag, but a better idea is to plant two. There are no doubts that the bags are easier and more convenient to use but for healthier plants, you have to fill the giant reusable grow bags with quality multi-purpose compost. And because the grow bags can easily collapse, knock-up wooden boxes to hold their sides up.
Growing pots are suitable for chilli and sweet pepper growers – you can use 20 cm pots. Pots do not grow very tall. Therefore, you can easily pile them with some on the floor level and others on top of them. The small cucumber varieties which include Cucino, Zeina and Picolino do better in pots – usually when on the floor level and permitted to trail. The large varieties including Tiffany and Carmen flourish better in large growing pots. Some people will even use builder’s2 buckets to make large pots. Ideally, large plant varieties go in giant grow bags or border growing.
Aubergines require larger pots to produce more while large cucumbers will do better in giant grow bags or borders. All tomato varieties will do well in pots, which should be larger than those you need to grow peppers – 25 cm pots are perfect for them.
Cherry bush tomatoes also do perfectly in hanging baskets or pots. When starting, you can place them in your greenhouse and later transfer them outdoors for the summer months. Bring them back to the greenhouse after the season has cooled. On the downside, pots require rewashing before re-use, which can be a tough job in the cold winter months.
Some advantages of using growing pots include:
- They provide virtually limitless growing media for roots to spread out.
- They provide better water reserve and you will not worry if you forget to water your plants in any day of the week. That is particularly important with tomatoes that respond highly to irregular watering.
- With pots, you can plant salad plants, courgettes or early carrots on the floor level and tomatoes on the top level.
Some of the problems you should expect with border growing include:
- Both sweet and hot peppers tend to produce more foliage than other crops when planted in borders because of growing media availability.
- Moreover, water tends to pool around cucumber stems, a situation that can lead to rotting and death of the plants. To prevent such cases, mound the plant’s base and water to their side.
- Judging the amount of additional fertiliser you require can be hard.
- You should change the soil in borders – or at least the top level – annually to minimise disease build up. To many, that will sound like a big task.
What is so special about best grow bags?
Today, everyone is trying to grow his/her vegetables and statistics show that demand for growing is always in the rise. Lack of space should not be a barrier in vegetable farming any more. Including the smallest patios and gardens can easily become a lettuce or potatoes bed with grow bags. The following are some of the reasons grow bags are special in modern farming.
- A best grow bags can squeezes into any small space and are easier than the rigid containers. They are therefore more suitable in small sheds, patios, conservatories, greenhouses and balconies. To reduce moisture loss and the need to water severally in a week, you just need to pack them together tightly.
- When plating, you will just fill your grow bags with compost. There is no soil preparation or digging involved. That alone makes farming a labour free and faster activity.
- Producers supply grow-bags in a wider range of sizes. For example, they supply salad grow bags for the short rooted crops which include lettuce. They are therefore shallower than the tomato grow bags. The small bags will save money on compost and needs less watering.
- Growing bags are reusable. At the end of the first growing season, you will just rinse them out and keep them for use in the upcoming season.
- With growing bags, tomato farming is easier. You will also easily feel size of tubers by prodding the bag’s flexible sides. In other words, you will never run the risk of harvesting the spud when they are tiny. That is usually a possibility in ground potato farming.
- Best grow bags are less expensive than the commonly used rigid containers. They are also a good alternative to raised beds. Even more, they are portable and you can move them to any place – in fact they are more portable than wooden planters.
- Grow bags for plants are more important in greenhouse farming. Instead of plating your seedlings into the ground directly, you can plant them in grow bags. That alone protects them from the common soil borne diseases. Everyone will agree that it is painful to lose even a single tomato crop to blight spread from potatoes planted outside your green house.
- After harvesting your plants, you can spread the compost on your garden to see the grass flourish. With the bags, expect to make huge profits.
Grow bags for plants
Initially, best grow bags were restricted to greenhouses. However, they now work perfectly on sunny patios, balconies and decks. They are a better way of increasing your growing space in the soil less areas and a way to decrease disease development in the soil. Select the plants that do not have deep roots, which include aubergines, tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies. The not grafted plants have vigorous root systems and require more space. Salad leaves may also grow successfully. To enjoy home-grown leaves including in summer, plant the cut-n-come again varieties.
As you have already seen, when using grow bags for aubergines or tomatoes, you can grow three plants in each. You can plant them directly or through plant halo which makes deeper planting areas allowing healthier root growth. Plant halos enable feed and water to easily reach the roots.
The only big drawback to grow bags is that they are unattractive. Even that is okay for greenhouses, it matters particularly when using them on a balcony or patio. A good solution is to place them in attractive but sturdy rustic crates.
Growing-bag watering systems
To properly water your plants, it is better you consider the available watering kits. Most of the kits available in the market can water up to three grow-bags at a time and some will allow extension. Even more, the kits release water slowly and prevent the soil getting wet or dry. With them, your plants will never suffocate and the water will not runoff or evaporate to waste.
With a watering kit, you will set the watering duration and frequency. They will also evenly water your plants including when you in holidays. For example, you can select a kit with at least 10 watering duration option such as 1 minute to 60 minutes and 11 frequency option. You can leave the kit dripping after you have completed your tasks and turn it off when you think that the plants have received enough water.
Another thing to remember during your purchase is that a watering kit with a larger reservoir will hold more water and for a longer period. Ensure that the kit you select can hold water for at least 3 to 7 days. A kit that connects to water butts is another alternative.
How to get the best out of your grow bags
The world of gardening took the sedate world by storm in the 1970s. But did you know why people worked hard to develop gardening? They did that to solve a major problem in tomato farming. They were already tired of replacing the soil in their greenhouse borders from time to time. To many, that does not seem like a big deal. However, at that time all keen gardeners had greenhouses which were a necessity in tomato farming. Because they had to grow their plants on the same ground patch every year, root diseases and pests build up was high. The plants were smaller and sicklier.
After introduction of growing bags, soil problems minimised. Every spring people popped their tomato seedlings in self-contained growing-bags where their roots could not get into contact with infected soil. What’s more, they would simply restock their greenhouses with fresh set each year. They did not need any more barrowing or digging at all.
The growing bags were not only cheap but allowed production of superb crops that most growers had not seen before. People even reported that their old greenhouses collapsed under the supported crops’ weight on strings from the roof struts. Supply increased. However, the Great Hurricane of year 1987, which highly destroyed the country’s greenhouses, stopped the growing bag boom. People had to clear away the wreckage but some never replaced their greenhouses.
Most gardeners had to move on to some other things such as decking, blue paint and water features. Gardening attracted more people with the young people trying to show their friends what they can do. Time has changed and the grow-your-own furor has given the growing bags a leg up. They have a great potential as vegetable patches for any property where inadequate space means that the occupant has to build a potted kitchen garden in a place that has no soil such as a courtyard, a patio, the veranda or the garden path edges. A flat roof can also be suitable, considering the recommended weight.
Best grow bags for tomatoes
The best grow bags for tomatoes are suitable for tomato growers. When placed outdoors, the tomatoes will grow within a shorter time than under glass. Therefore, it will pay if you stop them after four or three fruit trusses have already set to ensure that they ripen before autumn. If you are banking on summer, use growing bags in production of exotic crops which include cucumbers, chillies, peppers, aubergines and cantaloupe melons – considering the sunny corner.
For even better results, plant at least three plants per every bag – never mix plants as they all require different feeding and watering regime – and tie them to trellis for better support. Some distributors offer quality support frames that can perfectly fit over your growing bags to hold all the canes you tie your plants to. Never push canes through the bags bottom to avoid fast draining of water.
Compost used in growing bags is specially designed to work properly without any drainage holes at the bottom. If you would like to play safer, you should go for some vegetables such as the courgettes, dwarf French beans, lettuce, kohl rabi and rocket. You can also grow watercress provided that you will maintain the compost slushy and nice.
If you want to grow root crops, ensure that they are in the short category. Stump-rooted carrots, radishes, spring onions and baby beetroot are also fine. As a gardener you will have the option of turning a lone growing-bag into a herb garden planted with annual or compact herbs such as basil, parsley, chives or marjoram. Or if salads, herbs and vegetables are not your thing, choose best grow bags for flowers.
Grow bag as a large flower container
Treat each growing bag as a large flower container. To make a continuous flowerbed line up several growing bags in a row. Choose the more compact flowers. Some of the most common include lobelia, nasturtiums, pelargoniums, petunias, fuchsias and busy lizzies. They all thrive. And if you are worried that the bag’s appearance will spoil the effect, hide the plastic by covering it with pieces of hessian, pebbles or growing a trailing plant around it. In the modern world, you can get fetching growing bag covers designed from the available twiggy materials.
Growing flowers or vegetables in growing bags is not different from growing them in the other types of containers. However, you have to remember that lack of enough drainage holes will lead to marshy mess. When starting, poke your fingers into the compost to feel it. Soon, you will get hang of it.
First, water your plants sparingly. To reach the fair size, you will have to water more often particularly if the weather turns sunny or hot. If you allow your plants to dry out, they will surely show signs of blossom end rot – sunken black areas at the bottom of every tomato. Steadier, even watering will prevent the disorder.
Feeding is among the things you will have to do regularly mainly because the growing bags will hold limited volume of compost while your plants will highly rely on regular top-ups after using up all nutrients. Weekly doses of diluted liquid tomato feeds or the general purpose feeds will work perfectly for all type of plants.
Even more, growing bags are more economical mainly because after using them once and removing the previous crops’ remains, you will leave behind enough compost to grow fast autumn crop of lettuces, salads, rocket, spinach or lamb’s lettuce. And including after cutting those, remains of the old compost will still be useful. You can choose to spread it on your garden between perennials or shrubs as mulch, dig it in where you are planning to plant new plants or brush it into lawn as a form of top-dressing. Recycle the old plastic bags to new line hanging baskets.
How to grow tomatoes in a bag
Now, you can use grow-bags to grow juicy tomatoes for commercial or for personal use there are several methods of doing this. The first method involves use of growing bags that you have to add soil to. The second method, known as the European method, requires you to purchase larger bags of compost or potting soil and plant your tomatoes directly into them. Both methods are effective.
The empty growing bags method
The best idea is to purchase a growing bag purposely designed for tomato growing. The available fabric bags have an added benefit of allowing air circulation around the plant’s roots, but most individuals buy plastic trash bags to use in tomato cultivation. If you decide to purchase plastic bags for tomato growing, ensure that you have purchased those that are chemical free. Some manufacturers include chemicals in the plastic bags they produce with an aim of fighting germs. The chemicals are not good for any plant. Black bags are also known to be hotter than the white bags.
After purchasing the empty grow-bags, fill them 2/3 full with organic potting soil. And because tomatoes growing in bags can dry out easily, you have to get some coco pith or coir from garden stores and use it to help in water retention. The kelp will definitely allow the plants to reach more minerals that plants would otherwise easily get from the ground – when planted in outside gardens. Alfalfa meal will help stimulate growth. When using a plastic garbage bag, you have to poke some drainage holes in the bottom. To do that, use a toothpick or a small stick. Place the holes at least three inches apart.
The determinate tomato type is self-supporting and will therefore flourish better in plastic bags. With the other types, you will have to use tomato cages or stakes for added support. Add more water to the bags until the soil is consistently spongy. When planting, plant three seeds at the centre of every bag. When planting seedlings, remember to remove the bottom leaves and plant them deeper into the soil. Lay small stones around the roots to support them. An added benefit of the stones is that they will absorb more heat during daytime and release it to the plants at night.
Tomatoes, especially those grown in bags require consistent watering. You have to ensure that the soil is moist, not wet. If they will not remain moist, the tomatoes will get blossom end rot. When kept too wet, they are likely to die. Before you start watering, check the compost or soil by pushing one finger in around an inch. If the soil is seemingly dry, water the plants immediately.
Growing tomatoes in potting soil bags
Most people prefer potting soil bags, especially when growing tomatoes in greenhouses. Some use them to start plants in greenhouses and later transfer them outdoors before maturing. For better results, buy the large potting soil bags and plant three or two plants in every bag. Some manufacturers produce best grow bags for tomato farming. They are generally around three by one foot. And because the bags will be sitting for longer periods, you will have to loosen the soil by shaking and flipping the bags. That will enable the roots to take hold.