Tomato bags

jajm4(z5 w. mass, usa)June 1, 2011

Has anyone used the "tomato grow bags" from Gardeners Supply (www.gardeners.com)? I'm wondering if they last more than a season, or anything anyone else can say from their experience using them. Do they flop when the plants get big? I like that they are supposed to allow the soil to breathe from the sides, not only drain from the bottom. But do they work the way they are alleged to?

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardeners Supply Company Tomato Bags

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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I'm just starting my fourth season of using Smart Pots, which are the same thing. I have grown tomatoes. peppers, eggplants, potatoes, cucumbers and tomatillos in them and had great results. They hold up well. They do require more frequent watering, so this year I am using a modified version of 5-1-1 with turface replacing the perlite and 10 percent compost to increase water retention.

There is a long thread on these including comments from several people who have tried to make their own from various fabrics that I will link to below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fabric aeration containers

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 10:11AM
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jajm4(z5 w. mass, usa)

Thanks, Ohiofem! That thread is great! It seems like there are a lot of different types of these being made (why oh why did I never hear of them before?). I guess I have to choose one and see how it goes.

What size did you use for your tomatoes and cukes? Did you find it worked to surround the bags with tomato cages, and ladders or trellising for your cukes? I am trying to visualize how it all adds up.

I'm also trying to think about what surface to put them on.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:14AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I used 25 gallon bags to grow six cucumbers or three indeterminant tomatoes. This year I'm growing the same number of cucumbers in a 20 gallon pot, but only two tomatoes in a 25 gallon pot because they were too crowded. (Many people would advise having no more than one tomato per pot.)

I was able to fit one of those folding metal cages into the 25 gallon pot for the cucumbers, but I am using a wooden trellis for them this year because it won't fit into the 20 gallon pot. I use 8 foot poles for my tomatoes, and they work well because the pots are about 15 inches deep.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 9:21AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

If you put the grow bags on bare ground, the earth acts like a giant wick so the grow bag is more like a mini-raised bed than a traditional container. That allows you to use heavier potting soil, including compost, which in turn means you don't have to water quite so often. At the end of the season I found that tiny roots had grown into the ground from the container.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 9:27AM
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jajm4(z5 w. mass, usa)

Hmmmn... I don't want roots growing into the ground. The reason I'm using containers is because the soil here has lead in it.

I'm very happy about being able to use heavier soil, though. That will be great.

I have some 8' bamboo poles I can use.

Thanks for the specs on bag sizes!!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 1:12PM
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jajm4(z5 w. mass, usa)

I'm looking for people to weigh in on how these fabric containers perform on different surfaces: lawn, concrete, or set on a plastic barrier that catches moisture and/or keeps the planter off the ground.

My yard is surrounding a 200 year old house and there's lead in the soil; I don't really want the containers to get contaminated. So I'm thinking about putting plastic underneath them, but am worried they'll rot if they stay wet.

Has anyone tried something like this? How did it work out?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 11:38PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

If they could get the price down I would try them but not over $16 each.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 11:52PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Hello,
You can place the grow bags inside a cement mixing tray. The trays are available at Lowe's and HD stores. They cost $5 each and are heavy duty black #5PP plastic. These are cheaper and much sturdier than the watering trays sold by Gardeners Supply website. Roots will not grow through these but you will need to keep a close eye on any standing water.

Cheers,
DL

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 4:21PM
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