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Growing Tips

What is the Fabric Grow Bag?

Fabric Grow pots, also known as Amazing Garden grow bags, cloth pots are soft-sided, aeration containers, designed to enhance the root structure of your plants. All fabric pot brands we sell work on the same premise, allowing maximum oxygen flow to the root ball. These pots have been scientifically proven through university studies to create an intensely branched rooting structure. Healthy roots result in more leafage and flowers, stronger resistance to disease and pests, as well as improving growth rate due to higher nutrient uptake.  Additionally, the aeration effect will also help keep temperatures down, lowering stress levels on the plant. Typically cloth pots will last between 4 and 6 growing seasons depending on environmental conditions. Cloth pots can be used for seedlings all the way to full-size trees. To clean, simply allow them to dry and shake out the dirt. They can be machine-washed but do NOT machine dry them. For over 25 years fabric pots have been proving themselves both in university testing and real-world use.

What goes under the bags?

Our grow bags don't require anything to go under unless you use them on the porch or indoor. In that case, you can use the cheapest plastic saucers according to the size of the grow bag. Some people call them plastic drip catchers. 

How do I use grow bags?

Fabric Grow bags are used to grow plants with shallow roots. They are ideal for balconies or small gardens, where space is a premium. Growing bags are also great because they are re-usable and put out very little waste. To use a growing bag, prepare the grow bag for your chosen plant, install the plant, and care for the bag so that you have a healthy plant for the duration of the season. These are few steps need to follow in order to properly use the grow bags:

1. Purchase grow bags from our website (every order comes with a total of 5 grow bags) and make sure you pick the right size based on the size of roots or type of vegetable, fruit or flower you want to plant.

2. Line the grow bag with clay pebbles to aid drainage. If the type of potting mix you’re using isn’t susceptible to drainage, you may need to line the bottom of your grow bag. You can line the bag with clay pebbles or chunky perlite. Put enough of the pebbles or perlite at the bottom of the bag to cover it completely.

*Use at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of pebbles or perlite in the bag.

3. Add soil to the grow bag. You can use a compost-like gardening soil, a compost made specifically for containers, or you can make your own mix. A mix that is ideal for growing bags is 1/3 moss, 1/3 compost mixture (like chicken manure or mushroom compost), and 1/3 vermiculite (a moisture-retentive mineral). Fill the growing bag up almost all the way, leaving a couple of inches (5 cm) of space at the top of the bag.

4. Loosen and shape the bag if it doesn't have any already. Once the soil is in the bag, shake it a bit and knead it as if it were a pillow to loosen it up. Then, shape the bag into a low hummock (hill-like shape). This is to ensure that the soil has been evenly spread.

5. Scoop out soil to make room for the plants. Scoop out the soil with your hands or a trowel. Make sure that you’ve scooped out enough soil so that the entire root of the plant can be covered once it has been planted. Install the root ball in the soil. Insert the root ball into the placed where the soil has been scooped out. Make sure that the entire root ball is covered in the soil. Then, cover the top of the root ball with some of the soil you’ve dug out. 

6. Water the bag often. Grow bags typically require more water than potted plants. Check the growing bags on a daily basis. Water the soil anytime you see that it is drying out. The plastic heats the peat mix up considerably, so keeping the soil moist is essential for the growing plants to succeed.

*Fabric bags usually need to be watered more often than plastic bags.

SUGGESTED STEPS:

1. Install a self-watering system. It can be difficult to keep a growing bag well-watered, so a self-watering system is often beneficial. One option is to install a drip system. Essentially, a drip system is where a container slowly and consistently releases water into the soil. Or, you can put a container underneath the growing bag and fill it with water.

*If you put a deep container under the growing bag, you may need a container to catch the overflow.

2. Fertilize heavy feeder plants. Heavy feeder plants are plants such as corn, tomatoes, and cabbage family crops. You can buy fertilizer or make your own natural fertilizer. You can make your own fertilizer out of Epsom salt and eggshells, worm castings, and compost tea. Spread a thin layer of fertilizer on top of the soil. There should be room if you left a couple of inches (5 cm) at the top of your bag. Fertilize your plants at least once a week. 

3. Prop up tall plants as needed. You will likely need to add support to tall or top-heavy plants. You can use cane sticks to do this. Insert a cane stick into the soil next to the plant. Then, tie the plant to the cane, and attach the cane stick to a frame.

4. Plant smaller plants under tall plants to make the most of limited space. When space is a premium and gardening in this way is the only opportunity you have to grow your own vegetables, you can increase the crop by under-planting. For example, if you are growing tomatoes, add some lettuce or radishes underneath the tomatoes. Just be sure to wait until the tomatoes are well grown before planting the under-plants.

*If you plant more than one plant in the same bag, make sure you water them thoroughly.

5. Reuse the soil when the crops are finished. If the soil still seems healthy, you will be able to reuse the soil next season. The soil can be kept and reused for up to 2 to 3 seasons, as long as you amend the soil with compost, organic matter, or fertilizer. Even the bag can be used for one more season if you wash it out, allow it to dry, and then store it in a dry place until next growing season.

Our GOAL is to find you happy with our product and the hints provided! Our customers enjoy the product as well as the food they grow. Become one of them today!!

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLACK AND TAN POTS?

Glad you asked! The essentials are the same between the two colors.  They have the same amount of breathability for your root systems and will both help you grow happy plants, no matter what you are growing.  Also, both our black and tan fabrics are made from the same manufacturer but there might be a slight difference in texture and thickness between the two colors. The quality remains the same which was our original goal.

When taking a closer look, there are a couple factors that might help you decide between the two and they are listed below: 

DIFFERENCE IN TEMPERATURE

Most growers who have used fabric pots before will tell you that there is a slight temperature difference between black and tan pots when the plants are placed in direct sunlight or greenhouse environments. If you are in a warm climate and growing outdoors, for instance, you might choose tan pots to shave off a few degrees of heat from your root system. Cooler climates may choose black pots to keep their plants slightly warmer.

DIFFERENCE IN EVAPORATION

Because black pots can be slightly warmer, they will actually drain and evaporate water faster than tan pots.This will be most noticeable in outdoor growing, when the plants are exposed to direct sunlight.  Some of our growers have noticed, when growing in black and tan side by side, that they have to water the plants in black pots more frequently than the tan. So if you want to conserve water, consider tan pots. If you are happy with a faster wet/dry cycle for plant feedings, consider black.

DIFFERENCE IN UV STAMINA

The fabric used for fabric planters is a non-woven polypropylene, and most (including ours) have been treated to withstand UV rays. However, over time, the fabric will break down, especially in direct sunlight. Just because of the color, our growers report that the tan fabric lasts a little bit longer than the black. We expect our pots to last at least 3-5 seasons, but black pots in direct sunlight are probably more likely to last 2-4 seasons.

Fabric pots vs raised beds.

Unfortunately, the quandary of raised beds vs pots is no different. There are so many different methods of growing plants, and it really depends on your space and your growing method. We’ve gathered the points we think are most compelling in favor of each choice. Hopefully this will help you make your decision on what’s best for your grow.

REASONS TO CHOOSE RAISED BEDS:

MAXIMIZE YOUR SPACE

Get more plants per square footage with raised beds.  This is the most popular reason people have switched to raised beds for their greenhouses and indoor grows.

MAINTAIN BETTER SOIL MICROBIOLOGY

Many methods of growing, including “living soil” or “no-till” growing methods, are based on having increased organic soil microbiology.  Raised beds provide an optimum scenario for this because your soil takes longer to dry out.  Supporting a thriving microbiology is very hard in small pots – anything less than 45 gallons of soil will dry out rapidly.  If your root zone completely dries out, you have potentially killed some valuable microbes, taking a step backwards.

SAVE WATER

The bigger your soil mass, the longer the moisture retention.  You will have to water smaller pots more often than you would a raised bed.

GET BIGGER PLANTS AND HIGHER YIELDS

In a raised bed, there is more room for the roots to expand! Each plant’s root system can interweave with the others for overall larger root growth. And bigger roots mean bigger plants.

POTENTIALLY SAVE ON MATERIALS AND LABOR COST

Smaller pots can require transplanting, which takes time and more pots. Also, each individual root system in a fabric pot might require its own unique care and maintenance. The plants in a raised bed share a root system and soil mass and can help take care of themselves like a community.

HELP YOUR PLANTS COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER

It is possible for your plants to communicate when they share a soil system through something called the mycelium network.This may help your plants fight disease together as a unified force.

REASONS TO CHOOSE FABRIC POTS:

SAVE MONEY ON SOIL

A big downside to raised beds is how much soil you have to buy to fill them. Keep your soil costs down by using fabric pots.

PROTECT FROM MOLD OR DISEASE

If you’re growing in fabric pots, and one of your plants becomes diseased, you can remove it easily and your other plants are not threatened.

DUMP YOUR SOIL AND WASH POTS

Fertigation and other methods of feeding require you to dump your soil at the end of the cycle and start fresh. Fabric pots can be dumped easily and washed into the washing machine. 

BE MORE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR LAYOUT AND SPACE

If you’re not dead set on the layout you’d like for your grow, or you think there might be a possible move or lease change in your future, pots are a much safer way to go.

HAVE BETTER ACCESS TO THE PLANT

You can work 360° around each of your plants if they are in pots. In a raised bed, you often only have access to two sides of each plant.

TEST NEW SOILS OR PLANT STRAINS

If you are going to try something new, try it in a couple fabric pots to make sure it works out.

IF YOUR PLANTS DON’T LIKE TO SHARE

Prolific plants might be better grown in fabric pots – especially if your intention is to grow several types of plants together in one raised bed.