Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Veggies are in the Bag

This year growing vegetables is in the bag!

Since I first saw grow bags in gardening catalogs, I've been curious to know how they would work in our Texas climate. Grow bags make lots of promises like better drainage, aeration and cooler plants, but can this thin, flimsy bag really deliver?

I purchased 6 grow bags in the 10 gallon size for my trial. I'm planting early prolific yellow straight neck squash, dark green zucchini, and petit gris de rennes melon. 

I'm using potting soil in the grow bags. Regular garden soil is too heavy for containers and compacts quickly. The soil mix I'm using is coir based, so it will stay loose and fluffy. A 50 quart bag of soil will fill a 10 gallon grow bag with some to spare.

The 109 potting mix does not contain a fertilizer, so it's important to provide the plants some food.  I'm using a mix of cotton seed meal, Lady Bug 8-2-4, and green sand as my general purpose fertilizer. In addition, I like to start my transplants off with a good starter food like Bio Tone Starter Plus or Gardenville's Rocket Fuel.

The squash plants were already pretty good-sized when I planted them on April 23rd. 

Two weeks later on May 7th, growth is similar to those planted in the ground. The yellow squash is setting fruit, with the zucchini and melons not far behind.

Speaking of the melons, they are really taking off. I decided to grow them vertically against my chicken coop. So far the girls have not shown any interest in the plants. The grow bags are tall and with all the tasty weeds growing right now, the hens run by the veggies without a glance. We'll see what happens later.

I lined the squash pots up outside the coop near my work table. The sun is good here, and I already visit the area each day when I provide fresh water to the hens. I thought this sounded like the perfect way to make sure the grow bags get watered too.

I'm always telling people that they can grow food in containers. Here's a picture of some lettuce I'm growing right now in a traditional pot. I've been moving it around trying to find a good spot. Looks like morning sun and afternoon shade is working pretty well.

If you don't have space for a big vegetable garden or you just want to try something new, perhaps the answer is in the bag!


  1. Looks like so far, so good.
    Having the squash higher might also make it easier to watch for those pesky squash vine borers. Those have made me give up on yellow squash.
    Thanks for the tips on container soil and the starter food. Things I'll be looking for.

  2. I have looked at those grow bags too, not really found anywhere yet to put them in my completely overfilled garden, but perhaps next year….I do grow lettuce in a window box though, it looks like your pot at the moment – I have been snipping off leaves through April, but then the whole thing got infested with greenflies and eating the leaves was not so tempting anymore. I have sprayed with the same mix of fermented soy and herbs that I use on my roses, when it works properly I will start eating again – if I can get my scissors in and snip at all, they’re growing so fast!

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