I was ecstatic when I found out Richgro were bringing out a grow bag – It’s a product I’ve used in the UK and I always wondered why nobody used them in Australia. Well what is a grow bag? Simply it’s a bag filled with the perfect potting mix and additives for you to grow herb and veggies in – the bonus is you use the bag as a pot so it can be used in the smallest of spaces, including balcony gardens.
SET UP YOUR GROW BAG
Setting up a grow bag is simple, you first need the right spot. A sunny spot is best for plants like tomatoes, cucumbers or Zucchini although if you only have a semi shaded area lettuce or green beans work really well too. Loosen up the potting mix on the inside by giving the bag a shake – when they are stored at the hardware store they can compact down with the weight of the other bags on top of them so this will just allow all the fresh new roots to establish much quicker as the mix is now freer to grow into.
Lay the bag down and find the easily labelled bottom side – search for the marks to puncture some holes for drainage and using a screwdriver or similar implement push some holes in. As your grow bag will drain you may want to put down some newspaper or plastic if you are on a balcony or growing on some paving, this will prevent dirty water from staining your flooring.
Turn the bag the right way up and following the dotted lines cut holes out for planting pockets. You’ll notice the bag is much wider than it is high – this is perfect for roots when you compare to growing vegetables in pots as the roots can spread out in a natural horizontal manner and there is much less risk of the roots circling and the pants becoming pot bound.
Planting into your grow bag couldn’t be easier, you can use it to direct sow seeds or use seedlings, just as if you were planting directly into the ground or a pot. I’ve had great success with tomatoes, cucumber, and baby eggplants but I’ve also planted more sprawling plants like Zucchini. When selecting larger plants or climbers like peas and beans ensure you have a sturdy frame for them to climb on or get connected to, some wires on a wall are perfect as you’ll be able to benefit from the stored heat in the wall to increase growth too.
Planting your grow bag out with herbs makes an excellent addition to a garden of any size as they can be positioned on a balcony close to the kitchen making them easy to access and therefore easy to use. The plant choices are limitless really but stick to short lived plants to maximise the nutrient life in the bag.
Any veggie patch needs daily attention but it’s really important to water your grow bag daily as they drain so quickly. The trick to healthy plants in a grow bag is little and often watering over long less frequent soaks. The bag has enough nutrients in the potting mix for 8 weeks of growth, perfect for getting your seedlings established, after this period I suggest fertilising with Richgro Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable food in liquid form. The liquid is fast acting and nicely balanced to support all the growth needed for the perfect harvest.
At the end of the season or once your crop has been harvested the contents of the bag can be added into your compost heap or simply dug through another garden bed in the garden adding organic matter and helping to improve the structure of the soil.