Grow bags are fabric bags that let gardeners grow their plants in fresh soil all year, and a wise alternative to traditional containers.
If you garden, you more than likely have pots around your house. So why would you spend additional money on grow bags?
Are there any real benefits to using them?
That was my concern this past spring when I started planting my garden. I had my doubts about grow bags, after all… here in Arizona the summers can get so hot. I wasn’t sure how grow bags would hold up in the heat and I didn’t want to throw down any amount of money unless I was certain they’d be a benefit to my garden.
But now that the summer has passed, and I’ve had the opportunity to put them to use, I’m really thankful I made the leap. They have so many advantages over regular pots and are a wonderful addition to your garden.
When you use traditional plant pots for gardening, your plant roots tend to grow in entangled circles. This works against their ability to grow effectively, because it increases the likelihood that the plant will have water and air stagnation problems.
This is especially true if the plant pot doesn’t have a proper drainage hole or is oversized.
Roots that reach the end of the plastic pot will continue to search for more nutrients and water. In that quest to find them, they’ll circle the pot… eventually becoming root bound. With the roots bound to t he pot, the plant will struggle to intake the nutrients it needs to expand and grow, leading to further damage and stunted growth.
Grow bags prevent plants from becoming root bound. As the roots grow, they come in contact with the edges of the pot. The dryer soil around the edges of the pot will let the roots know that they have reached a limit. Air pruning will happen naturally and plants will burn off and produce healthier roots.
Air pruning prevents the roots from overgrowing and binding in a container. Those new roots will take in greater nutrients and water and enhance the growth of the plant. Pots, on the other hand, will only allow a few roots to take over and those roots will circle the pot, become root-bound and constrict the plants ability to uptake nutrients.
Plastic pots tend to retain heat in the summer, that heat is trapped inside a material that is all but breathable. Grow pots are made with breathable material that do a better job of regulating temperature.
Excess heat trapped in a grow bag is able to freely go through the breathable material of the bag.
Since grow bags are constructed with breathable fabric, they will definitely require more watering. Here in Arizona, summer temps reach as much as 118 degrees F, and the bags can tend to dry out faster.
Traditional pots are not porous, thus, it’s easy to over-water and drown the plant. When using grow pots, you’ll have to water more often, but the excess moisture will be wicked from the bag.
Ease of Use
Grow bags are lightweight and come with handles – they are relatively easy to move around the garden. Since they are more portable, they are great for gardeners who are short on space.
They are an incredible way to garden if you are limited on backyard space, live in an apartment or travel frequently. Since they are more portable, they are easy to move inside/outside from summer to fall as the temps start to drop and winter sets in.
If you live in a climate where weather is warm all year, then you can even plant the grow bags directly in the ground.
Grow bags work well for tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and even herbs. Collectively group a large bunch of herbs in a grow bag instead of a raised bed or in-ground system. Grow bags are available in a multitude of sizes, as small 3 gallon.
Instead of taking time to build a raised bed garden, consider grow bags for your gardening needs. Bags as large as 30 gallons can be a wonderful way to grow your favorite vegetables and herbs. If you want an even larger growing area, invest in the 100 gallon grow bags.
What about Fertilizing?
Growing plants in grow bags is different than growing plants in pots. However… much like pots, plants that are heavy feeders will need natural fertilizers to encourage healthy plant growth and development.
Worm castings, bone meal, and compost tea are all important elements.
Have you ever considered using grow bags in your garden? And if so, how did they work out for you?