It has been three unprovoked weeks since I spoke of my garden. As I mentioned in a previous post, my cabbages bolted this year – because they were left over from last year’s planting and got hit by the long(er) weather – so they are “not going to” produce heads. Apparently cabbages are big nutrient suckers, so leaving the roots/stems in is a bad idea for the soil.
So I pulled up my cabbages.
This is the end of an era. I’m going to do some work in their space, plant something new, but the undead cabbage will always be in our hearts.
As the garden will be renovated for new tenants, I also wanted to look more into how to expand on my garden space. I’ve had some “vertical planters” that I hung from the fence, but they aren’t the best as far as giving root space for my plants. A very large portion of our “yard” is covered off with stepping stones (with a brick setting) and collects weeds through what little dirt there is, making it impossible to plant over there. As such, I am looking into Grow Bags.
Container gardening is a great way to garden in small spaces, improve your existing soil, or garden where there is no soil at all. Grow bags are a great alternative to containers. They are easy to make, inexpensive, and, unlike containers, grow bags are made of breathable fabric which means superior drainage and aeration.
The concept is simple enough: use a bag instead of a pot and, when the season is done or the plant has died, empty the dirt and it stores like a bag. Many are made from recycled plastic bottles (upcycling!) and, thanks to the weave instead of solid plastic, it allows airflow which is supposed to aid with roots; in plastic containers, the roots will keep wrapping around and around in the container until it chokes off, but in bags, the extra air will signal not to keep growing and, instead, grow new roots. Theoretically.
I looked up a few sites online where you can buy them, but you can look here for the DIY Grow Bags steps I found online. While I haven’t found the same material they used, I have made one bag already with leftover materials (with more to come) I had on hand.
Please ignore the debris behind the container.
And the man behind the curtain. He is of no significance.
This one is made of cyan-dyed canvas. I have no idea how the canvas will be different from upcycled plastic bottles or how the dye may affect the plant. I just couldn’t find my plain canvas and I’ve had this in my craft box for at least four years. (It was time to be used.) According to the internet, you can use the reusable shopping bags that stores sell, too, and they only cost $0.50 – $2.00 USD each.
The canvas bag seems to hold itself up well when filled with dirt (and don’t expect it to retain the shape on the bottom all the way to the top) including when wet. Because of the weave instead of solid plastic, water will easily drain out. This means it will dry out faster if in a sunny setting, so set it in a container to catch the water to Kiddie-pool it.
You can watch the video about the Kiddie-pool system on YouTube, but basically it is to have a container that the bag fits inside, keep just a couple inches of water max in the bottom at all times, and the roots will suck the water up through the bag instead of watering from the top/having it drain and dry out every time. You don’t want the roots to touch the water level or they’ll get waterlogged and sick. I currently have an old popcorn tin lid under mine, but I plan to get a tub that I can fit 1-3 of these little bags in at once.
I hope this finds you well, possibly inspires you, and you’re having a wonderful Tuesday!