Grow bags are usually made of felt or other non-woven, pressed fabrics, which have small holes in them to allow the free circulation of air. This free circulation of air benefits the roots by allowing them to more efficiently absorb water and nutrients from the soil. In traditional plastic, ceramic, or clay pots, the roots of a plant will grow out and hit the edge of the container. When this happens, the root system is not being used efficiently, which limits the ability of the plant to pick up nutrients. Plants that grow in traditional pots are also susceptible to temperature shock in warmer weather, due to the surface of the pot absorbing more heat.
Grow bags encourage the plants to self-prune. As the root of a plant hits an air pocket, the plant will automatically prune the root, creating a side bud. The plant then develops a solid, fibrous root system, which allows for a greater surface of root hairs. If you wish to transplant some plants that have been previously grown in traditional containers, you can break up the root systems to encourage growth. Some more fragile plants may not do well if their roots are broken up, so make sure you know which plants are intolerant to this.
Companion planting in grow bags encourages the mixed growth of plants. In a small “ecosystem” such as a grow bag, there are complex root systems as well as a mix of soil microbes in sister plants that will help feed each other.
Easy to Water
Grow bags take away the guesswork of watering your plants. There are small holes and pores in the pressed fabric which allow any excess water to drain. While grow bags reduce your chances of over-watering, there is still a risk of under-watering the plants. Since air circulates so freely throughout the grow bag, the soil can dry out rather quickly. Be sure to water regularly.
Mobility and Durability
Grow bags are great for gardens of all sizes, both indoors and outdoors. You can start a plant in a smaller grow bag and move it to a larger grow bag as the plant reaches maturity. Grow bags are predicted to last 7 to 8 seasons, but with good care, they can last for much longer. Grow bags’ fabric is pressed together, not woven, which increases their durability. The bags can be cut without damaging their structure, allowing for the growth not just on the top of the grow bags, but also around the sides of the bag.
Vertical Grow Systems
Good vertical grow bags allow for nutrient-rich garden systems. If you have multiple grow bags, you can stack or hang them on top of each other. When you water the top plants, the nutrients drain from the top bags and form a cascading effect on the lower bags. These systems can be irrigated with PVC piping or hand-watered.
Starting your own Grow bag
Starting your own grow bag is very simple you will need just a few things:
- Organic Soil
- Starter Fertilizer
- Grow Bag
- Seeds or Plants
- A location with enough sunlight
To Start Your Grow Bag:
- Fill with enough organic soil to leave just a few inches of headroom for your plants to percolate water down the root systems
- Moisten and mix the soil with fertilizer to get it ready for the plants
- Plant your plants or sow your seeds
- Fertilize your plants every four to six weeks to ensure that they are receiving the nutrients that they need
While grow bags are a good alternative to traditional containers, there are still a few issues that may need to be addressed.
You will potentially need to weed if a seed so happens to fall in your plants, or a bird or other organism deposits a seed in your garden
You may need to be prepared for pests such as aphids, worms, and other insects. Earthworm castings are a good, organic solution to deter pests. These castings can be mixed into your soil to make your plants taste a little less delicious to the unwanted garden visitors.