Growing Vegetables In Potting Soil Bags
For the last 2 years I’ve had a really hard time growing vegetables, I can grow herbs like crazy in the garden, but the veggies seem to fall prey to every insect, disease, and anything else that comes along.
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I talked to someone who has been around here for eons and runs a nursery nearby and he said that the land we live on used to be a cow pasture, so, I said “great it should be wonderful.”, He said “no, before they built on it they scraped all the land” and he said “I don’t know what they brought in, but, they did bring in some kind of land filler and put it in on top of what was left after they scraped it”. So, he said he has no idea what my soil is made of, …great.
I now know it’s clay soil… ugh – so growing directly in my “land” is not an option, and amending my “land” is also cost prohibitive. So, that means I need to do container gardening. Whether that means pots, bags, raised beds, or even growing vegetables in bags of soil, that’s what I need to do.
What I do know is I’m frustrated with it this year. The first year we built a raised bed garden for a brand called Ecoscraps. They sent us their products to use, and they did okay, still not ok for the vegetables, but, it worked very well for herbs.
It was not them, it was us, for sure. Now, I will say the tomatoes grew okay, basically the cherry tomatoes grew like weeds, the other tomatoes didn’t grow so well.
Last year I tried planting directly into the ground behind the raised garden. I dug out an area, added potting soil thinking that would make the perfect soil, and planted in-ground but, it ended up the same as the year before.
The veggies did eh… and the herbs grew like wildfire, as did the cherry tomatoes. I had squash vine borers kill my squash, I had whiteflies and grasshoppers up the wazoo, I had tomato hornworms that would eat whole tomatoes! I had all sorts of pests, I tried everything and was unsuccessful at controlling it.
So, this year I decided to try a few different things I saw online. My daughter found a few, my mom found a few, and friends wanted me to try some things they saw. So, this year I have bought a few garden planters for the front porch and those are doing very well.
I found a couple of out of the box ways of growing things and am trying some of those this year. I’m happy, so far, with the results, not thrilled, but, I’ll take it. They’re actually growing, they’re green, they’re happy, but, not producing much fruit.
I want to share what I’m doing so that it might help someone else. Now I will also say I don’t have a lot of room, so you’ll see that the things that I’m trying don’t take up a lot of space.
I’ve chosen some cheap ways of doing things to make it easier, because, I can see in a heartbeat how you can really rack up the dollars trying to make a great garden that will produce well. But, if you go that route it could take a few years for you to make your money back.
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Here is one way of planting that someone found online. It showed how to use a bag of potting soil to plant in. For soil bag planting, you lay the bag flat, and cut the front off and plant directly into the bag laying flat.
Planting vegetables in bags of soil sounds perfect… what could go wrong? You’re using nothing but perfect potting soil and water. But, there are a few considerations you need to think about before you start your soil bag garden. Such as what depth your particular vegetables will need for their roots… a bag of potting soil isn’t deep, at all.
What I saw growing in it was lettuce, I wasn’t able to do lettuce this year, the time for planting it had passed. Where I buy my seedlings didn’t have lettuce until it was too late to plant. My friend, Ann over at Ann’s Entitled Life tried it, and is growing tons lettuce out of the bags, hers are beautiful! —> Take a look!
What I did instead was plant peppers and cucumbers, and now I’ve been told (and I should have researched to begin with), that the peppers and cucumbers need deeper planters for the roots to grow. It’s been a slow start, but, they’re doing okay. So, you’ll definitely want to research what vegetables you can grow in bags before you start.
When you plant your seeds or seedlings in soil bags, once you cut the front of the bag off, you also want to punch small holes underneath the bag. Not so much that the soil falls out, but, where the water can drain and then you want to put that bag on something that will allow for drainage, and hold the weight.
I looked online with a friend of mine and we found some very expensive ways to do that, tables with grates, and other things that were very expensive. I don’t have patience for waiting to get something like that, and I certainly don’t want to spend that kind of money on an experiment like this.
So, I looked in the shed and I found an old huge, hard plastic dog crate and I thought I could lay the bag on top of the dog crate. It was the perfect size and could hold the weight, plus the perfect height to keep the bag up off the ground up so, I won’t have to worry that grasshoppers, hopefully, that was a big concern of mine.
It’s not pretty but it got the job done, with the added plus of me not having to bend to tend to it. Those are definitely some of the considerations you’ll need to take into account when you choose this sort of no dig planting. No dig beds for growing produce can work well as long as you do your homework before you start.
Then I found an old metal shelving system that my mom had asked me to put in the shed that she wasn’t using anymore. So I got one of those shelves out and sat it on top of the dog house and that raised the potting soil bag up just a couple of inches which was perfect for the drainage.
So, you see you don’t need to spend a lot of money to do the things that you see online, just look around, think outside the box make it happen. This was the easiest way I found for growing vegetables in bags. I would have to call it quick and easy bag gardening!
Take a look:
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