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Fabric Aeration Containers

Posted by pepper_d0g 9 Central FL (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 2, 09 at 8:39

Good Morning all,
I was wondering if anyone can share their experience with these type of pots? From what I have read about them it all makes sense to me. I started using them a couple of weeks ago when I planted my pepper seedlings in 3 gallons. They fit perfectly in inexpensive plant stands from the dollar store. I think these will be great here in Florida. You can't beat the drainage and aeration. Opinions?

Ken


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 2, 09 at 14:11

They don't change drainage characteristics unless you have them setting on the ground (soil). Putting them in a container, to some degree would negate the beneficial added gas exchange afforded by the fact they are made of fabric. Otherwise, you can realize very good growth from your plantings if the soil and other cultural conditions are appropriate.

Al


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Yes, I agree Al, putting the smart fabric pots in a container would defeat a lot of the purpose. That is why I found open wire plants stands that will not restrict the aeration or drainage. These stands are a great option for me in that they keep the pots off my concrete deck and open to air on all sides (including the bottom). As a bonus, the combination of aeration pot and wire stand is cheaper than my plastic pots!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 3, 09 at 9:38

Ahhh - now I see what you meant. Good thinking! ;o)

Al


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Who carries those pots? I've never seen them. Home Depot, Lowes?


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

The ones I bought on the internet are called Smart Pots. There are a bunch of gardening supply companies that carry them. You can also buy them directly from the manufacturer.

Ken

Here is a link that might be useful: Fabric Aeration Containers


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Or, if you have a sewing machine, you can sew your own from landscape fabric. They are simple to make.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

leearnold!! You are kidding, right? OMG! I do have a sewing machine, and I'm good with it. We have teak pool furniture with white cushions, and I made slipcovers from that sunbrella fabric for 8 Barstools, 4 Chairs, and 4 steamer lounges. I had enough left to make 4 tablecloths, 16 placemats, and slipcovers for the leather sofa inside that gets sticky during the sweaty summer!

Sooooooo, do you have a link with instructions? Or, do I just cut circles for the bottom, sew a tube for the sides, and sew it all together?

I have plans for a large amount of 5 gallon size. I'd like to increase my vineyard by 200%. My own vines will give me many cuttings, and I have several on order from UC Davis. I never thought I could make them myself. WOW!

YOU MADE MY DAY!! THANKS!!
Suzi


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

These pots do look interesting. I may have to try them at some point.

For similar results I sometimes use aquatic plant baskets for growing small conifer seedlings. The plastic baskets I use are small, about 5" tall and 4" across, and the sides are filled with hundreds of small holes. These holes let water escape and let oxygen into the soil. They also air prune the seedling roots when they reach the edge of the basket, similar to the fabric pots mentioned above.

The aquatic baskets come in different sizes and are fairly inexpensive. You could also probably use similar baskets from your local dollar stores.

Any container that holds soil well and lets in oxygen should give similar results.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I did a lot of research, and found that the bottom circle is not sewn on, but glued with hot glue! How easy is that?

I also found there are many landscape cloth manufacturers. I called a couple to find out which of their model numbers have the one side that is fuzzy. They all make the non-woven (fuzzy on one side) stuff, and it can be found online for really cheap!

I'll probably purchase one from Smart Pots for an example, but it doesn't seem like rocket science. I want 5 gal pots for my vines, and the diameter of the 5 gal size is usually around 12" and about 14-16" tall.

I thought about possibly gluing one "bottom" circle to the tube with the circle outside, and the tube edge cut and bent in and glued, and then topping the cut tube edge with another circle glued inside as well. Only because "they" tout "their" bottom as tough and that it's laminated together. Hmmmmmmmmm

I need a LOT of pots, so the money I would save by doing this myself is substantial!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Hi - Might I suggest considering ECO-FELT. It is a felt made out of recycled plastic bottles. I have been using them for a while they are rather durable. Landscape fabric that is lightweight tears easily. Hence I use ECO felt. I have made some into selfwatering containers and they produce incredibly healthy plants.

Some of my felt pots are circular but I actually prefer the box (felt-bag) containers.

I would be hesitant to just use a glue gun because as you water the plant the glue will loosen from the fabric and you will have a broken pot. :-( I sew mine with a zig zag stitch. Further I leave the seams to the outside. Water does drain from the stitch lines.

I have some pictures if you are interested.

LC


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I have been sewing pots plus topiary bases from the type of landscape fabric which has a soft, black, felt-like surface ever since this non-woven product was introduced to the market. Runs easily through a sewing machine. Several suggestions:

Purchase from a sewing store (such as Joanne Fabrics) the waterproof type of glue used to glue baubles on clothing. After stitching seams together, run a bead of this glue along the inside seams gluing the raw edges together. Things that I made 20 years ago using this method are still as good as new.

Consider making 'double walled' pots, stuffed with the same type of fiber-fill used to stuff toy animals. There is still air circulation through the pot and it provides some root insulation in hot or very cold climates.

In the just-for-fun category...sew an animal from landscape cloth. A sitting teddy bear works well as a form. Or balls, oblisks, squares; you are the designer. Throughly soak unmilled spaghnum moss plus many handfuls of regular green moss in a pail. Stuff your form tightly with this, sewing the stuffing hole with a piece of fine brass wire. Place in a shady spot, dampen often. Moss should grow rather quickly on the form.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Oh WOW! You guys are inspiring!! LC, please post pictures! I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in seeing them! I'll look up that Eco-Felt and see if I can find a source for it here.

And, Nandina, I love your suggestions also! The waterproof glue sounds great, and I'm happy to sew these things first and then use that glue. I don't want broken pots!

I think the moss forms sound great, and would love to see pictures of those too, as well as your topiaries!

Is this a great thread, or what? I love it!!

Thanks everybody!
Suzi


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I was actually thinking of just using insect screening inside mesh baskets from the dollar store. I think Al mentioned that he has done that.

Ken,
First, which dollar store did you find those great stands?
Second, the only thing that concerns me about those peppers is where you live. I know there is more air flow than say a black plastic pot, but down here... IT'S HOT! I checked to see if they made any other colors but I did not see any. My DH's peppers (he planted) were put into a black plastic pot and I made him cover it with the white landscape fabric he has.

You crafty sewers (I used to be one, now I have a 2 year old =D) could have a great market for lighter colored pots too!

Shannon


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 8, 09 at 15:03

I think he found them at the dollar store just around the corner from his house.

Al


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

OK- I have several different versions so I will post some more when I take the pictures in my graden today.

mint felt-tainer

Basil in small Eco-felt pot

new tomoatoe sucker rooting

Tomato sucker rooting - I also use the same pot in the spring for beans.

gardening,felt bag

Container bag in the making it now houses a pumpkin.

Felt-tainer mystery plant

It is on the right. I will take better pictures today. I just planted eggplant seeds in a new felt-tainer. Each container is slightly different as I am modifying the design all of the time. I too recommend lighter as opposed to darker fabric. I also think they work better with a watering system as the air dries them rather quickly.

LC


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Nifty 'felt'! Nice containerizers, you guys are really crafty.

To Mr Smarty Pants,
We have brand name dollar stores down in our neck of the woods=D. Some of which carry the same items for $1 at all of their stores, so even though I might not live around the same corner, I might have a different location nearby.
=D

I think that is the first post of yours I've read that didn't contain a boat load of information! LOL!!

Good job everyone!
Shannon


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 8, 09 at 23:02

Well, I DO take a minute every now & then to have fun! At least you didn't come after me with an axe.

Sorry, Ken. ;o)

Al


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

In the past have use old blue jeans-tied the pants legs closed and filled them with growing medium and planted in them-this started a crazy idea of a clothesline full of garments growing things. Had to use a steel cable as clothesline to hold the weight--it received many comments to include, "That I should do my laundry in soapy water so that won't happen again.". Wished I had pictures to post but lost them in a fire years ago. Truly something to see!


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Oh my! A clothesline full of growing blue jeans! I hope you put it in the front yard! LOL

LC, thanks for the pictures. You did an awesome job! I priced that Eco Felt, and it's waaay too expensive! $5.99 per yard vs. 1.25 per yard for the 3.5 lb landscape cloth, so I'll be using landscape cloth since I need about 60+ 5 gallon containers.

Looking forward to your other pictures! And I hope Nandina posts her moss animals!

My biggest quandry now is which color of cloth to use. Black, Tan, or White. It's very hot here, and I'm thinking white, but will it get dirty and look awful? I'll probably go with simple black.

Thanks and keep those pictures coming!

Suzi


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Most landscape cloth is not UV resistant and will deteriorate in less that 2 months in the sun. It generally is covered with mulch that keeps the sun off from it-so they so do not usually add UV protection to it.

So ask about it's UV level of resistance. What I've found has no UV protection-except poly blends which do but don't allow air/water flow as well as landscape cloth.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Hey Seramas!

The landscape fabric I will use is this one and in the first paragraph it says UV treated! http://www.catalogclearance.com/products/sku-WP1035__dept-159.html
The price is right for me because I need 4' x 100' to make my 60+ containers and it comes in white and earth colors also.

I called the company, and they assured me that this one has the fuzzy side (shown in the smart pots site), so I wanted to get as close to those smart pots as I could, since they work so well.

My grapevines are all on a drip system, and get water twice a day. I love the fact that nothing gets root bound in these things because the roots prune themselves and grow laterals allowing more uptake of nutrients. The air gives oxygen to the roots also.

Nandina's suggestion of waterproof glue inside the seams sounds great to me because I'd hate my thread to deteriorate, so that gives back-up! I have till March to get these things made, so I'm still in research mode.

My potted vines will be head pruned (like a tree with a trunk and branches)and not on the trellis like the in ground vines.

Thanks for the heads-up about the UV! The major manufacturers all UV treat. You just have to buy a lot of it to get a decent price per foot or yard, however you want to spin it... If I wanted to pay $5.99 per yard, I'd go ahead and buy 60 5 gallon smart pots and skip all the work of making them myself! LOL!

Suzi


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I bought my Eco-Felt one time at the Big-W for a dollar a yard. Most time I get it at Joanne's around September when it is 1.50 to 1.99 a yard. (Halloween costume making time) I also buy it during other times of the year with a 40% off coupon. I don't think I have ever spent more then 2.50 a yard. It is 60 width. I agree with the deterioration comment. My burlap always deteriorates.

Desert Dance - I would love to see a swatch of what you are using. Can I send you a SASE for a swatch if you do go with the landscaping fabric? All the lanscaping fabric around here would have to be doubled to even hold the dirt effectively.

To all other post your fabric containers. I would have loved to have seen the jean leg pictures.

LC


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Yep! We WANT PICTURES of the jeans growing plants on the clothesline! OMG that is soooooo Red Neck!! LOL

And, LC, I have not placed my order, but when I do, you can most certainly get a sample from me! Did you follow the link I provided?

Most really good landscape fabric manufacturers are UV treated. You can buy in different weights. I'm looking at 3 oz, and I should probably go to 8 oz.... still in research mode.

One look at that smartpots.com website convinced me that this is the way to go. I just don't want my container vines to look like they are growing out of floppy bags. So I need to figure out which weight will stay upright and look like a pot.

Suzi


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

O.K. Suzi - I have a suggestions. I really did not like the floppy bag look either. Burlap is the worst. When I a make a SW fabric container . . . it seems that the sides stay up better. I am working on a sweet potato bag now and I am putting a little placket for my babmboo sticks. The bag will stay up straight and taut and the beans will have something to hold. I love those metal stands and would like to get some myself.

You asked if I followed the link . . . The only link I saw was for smartpots. I am aware of that company and have seen them in practice both here in TX and where I use to live in Florida.

LC


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

OK, again, the link: this is what I am considering seriously. http://www.catalogclearance.com/products/sku-WP1035__dept-159.html


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I was looking into buying some type of fabric container, then thinking of making them, etc.
This is a link to a product that looks much less expensive....but I don't know how many you have to buy! But, I like the wire structure in them.

Also, this fabric is UV protected; I am guessing many of the landscape fabrics will be.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Thanks Lathyrus! Those are neat! I like the wire supports also! I found these other pots. All these things are based on air pruning to encourage root growth. http://www.rootmaker.com/products_propagation.php

I had to call for pricing, and they have an expandable version. Basically a disk on the bottom, and a tube that is overlapped and closed with wire fasteners, and expanded as the years go by and the plant grows bigger and needs a bigger pot.

Hmmmmmmmmmm Light bulb!! Wire? Now we are talking! I like the expandable idea, and for stability, I like the idea of weaving wire (no sewing yay!) attaching the disk to the bottom, and maybe on 4 sides for strength.

I think the non-woven UV treated landscape fabric will work fine with the above method, so I guess I'll spin over to HD or Lowes and see what wire fasteners they have. I suppose you could even use chicken wire as a form...


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Oh... did someone talk to me? I must have dozed off... LOL I'm glad I started this thread for you Suzi!!

Just kidding... I'm glad to see all the discussion.

Shannon: I found the plant stands at Family Dollar Store. The regular price is 3 bucks but they had them all marked for 1.50 so I picked up about 30 of them. Well worth it to me! It's pretty hot here in the Orlando area also. It's 94 on my patio right now. So far I think the dark color hasn't made a difference. The mix has not dried out inordinately fast and the plants seem to love it. I think they are doing pretty well for me... here what do you think...

The Bhut Jolokias


Another view

I wish I knew how to sew like some of you guys but I don't, so I have to buy them. Just so everyone knows I am not affiliated with the product in any way! I am just a guy that is happy so far. The ones I bought are very well constructed... the seam looks great and I don't see any signs of hot glue. Here is one turned inside out:

I was using 5 gallon containers from the big box for my peppers and was paying 9.95 Now I am paying 5.95 (5 gal) and 4.95 (3 gal). Add a buck 50 for the stand and I am still saving money!

I was having a problem with the plastic containers staying too wet, especially with all the rain. These seem to have corrected that problem. I just hope they hold up for a while. Now if I can get rid of the darn white flies and aphids that recently showed up!

Ken


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Did you know that a pepper can live 40+ years, and can grow to a tree? Mine is about 4' tall, and bears every day.


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And your point is?

Was that a random thought or did you have a point?


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Dear Ken - I am inspired by your smart pots. I really do like your stands and I totally see the value of them. They are definitely worth it. I am going to my local family dollar on a hunt for the stands.

What soil were you using in the pots when you felt the soil was too wet? I am using Al's mix in mine quite successfully. Further - I am using compost as a side dressing in some of my fabric containers. I prefer self-watering containers as opposed to leaving the pots to my watering. I have found I have less problems with leaf diseases by using self-watering systems.
Laurie


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Hi Laurie,
Thanks for the courteous answer. My original question for this tread was to learn about other people's growing experiences with fabric aeration containers. The plastic containers I am have been using (all sizes between 5 gallon and 30 gallon) with MG Organic Mix with extra Perlite has been great for most tomatoes but just so-so for SOME (not all) varieties of peppers. I experienced some fatal wilting with a couple of large pepper plants during the summer. I attribute that to a variety of variables; heat, humidity, over-watering / rain, having the pots on the concrete deck... I have found Mammoth Jalapenos to be most sensitive. Searching for a solution I came across the Smart Pots and the stands which I like. Look at the difference between the plants in my original picture and the one I just posted last night.

Although I might start experimenting with Al's mix next year I found Happy Frog mix and Ocean Forest mix by Foxfarm that I have been using with these aeration containers. It is a bit pricey but I wanted to try it anyway. It seems to work extremely well for getting seedlings up and on their way! It drains extremely well and has been staying moist (not wet) for several days at a time. Works for me for now.

I also have some earthtainers that I made to Raybo's specs but my heirloom tomatoes did not grow as well as I had hoped. I started them too late for this Florida heat! I will try them again because I like the concept.

Florida container vegetable gardening has been quite a challenge and I appreciate the things I have learned on these forums. Ken


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Ken,

As a former Floridian - 20+ years (Zone 10), I totally understand your frustration. I found that gardening under my screened-in patio (15% shading) increased my yield tremendously and eliminated many of the nasty bugs. I container gardened in Florida as I do now in Texas.

If you can shade in both areas you have more successful crops. In September, I will move my containers to more full sun areas but I am limited by space. I am hoping the leaves from the trees drop faster than the temps. A girl can dream.

Back on topic . . . I have found that the fabric containers can handle a bit more dense soil than plastic containers. Perhaps partly due to the wind in Dallas (I heard today . . . it is it the third windiest city in the US - hmmm need to see if that is fact or fiction.)

My container fabric is a bit more dense than yours as I use felt that is a tad bit thicker than the SMART POTS fabric. Additionally, I have found that the ZigZag stitching to the outside allows more water to escape than a straight stitch. In the past, SMART POT had stitching on the outside of the container. However, the current stitching method seems to eliminate the bulk of the fabric and thread to be more streamlined, making water gathering a moot issue. Since the stitching is to the inside now, the pots are more aesthetically pleasing, and more people are interested.

I too use Raybo modified SWC and AL's mix in those pots. I have thriving plants in those pots. My little felt-tainers (SWC) combines both Raybo's and Smartpots technologies. Not purposely, but through accident and trial and error. It is interesting in Florida, I saw nurseries use huge pots made out of fabric. In Texas, I have not seen the same. I cannot even find a SMARTPOT in any of the local gardening supply centers. I can only purchase through mail-order. Funny since there research and corporate headquarters are relatively closer to Texas.

Please keep posting your picture updates. I would love to see your end results. It is inspiring.

I planted sweet potato slips into one of my larger SWC/Felt-tainers Monday. I am excited to see the progress of my slips each day. I also planted some eggplant seeds in another container with vermiculite around the seedling to keep it most until it sprouts.

Best wishes,

LC


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Thanks for posting those pictures of the seaming and how it is done. Great pictures and your plants look so healthy! I'm convinced these type of containers really help the root systems of the plants in them, and I'm looking forward to seeing how grape vines do in them. They should do better than well because according to the commercial web sites, nurseries grow huge trees in these things with large root systems. Fingers Crossed.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Laurie, it's nice to be understood! Yes the shade under screen enclosure is a must here. It is still not enough on some days. At least I can move the containers around. For me, an in-ground farm is out of the question even though I have the room! Do you like Texas farming better than Florida farming?

Your combination of technologies is very impressive! Good job. I may have to experiment with your idea next season.

I am getting my Smartpots now from a local Hydroponic Store. Although they do not normally carry them they get them for me in a couple of days. No shipping charge, yippee! I'll end up with about 50 or more. Now, if I can just manage the bugs (even in the screen enclosure). The white flies seem immune to everything.

Good luck with your potatoes and eggplants. And keep us posted with your pix too! and thanks again.

Suzi, you are welcome for the pictures. I'm sure your vines will do great.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I ordered two of the Smart Pots simply because I was ordering a few other things and the site I was at had these at a very reasonable price. (I think sewing is a marvelous idea, would buy all the materials, then they would sit in a pile next to the hemming that hasn't been done in the last two years.)

They seem well sewn. I ordered one smaller one and one large enough for a single tomato plant. It's big! Not sure I'll try them this fall, but I may plant a fall crop of lettuce in the larger one just to see how I like it.


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I think you will be happy with the Smartpots, Lathyrus. Mine plants are all doing well. The super-hots are growing really fast. I will keep my photobucket page updated with the progress for anyone that is interested.

I was curious about reusing the pots so I contacted the manufacturer... here is their response: "They can be reused many many times. A lot of growers I talk to wash the Smart Pot in the washing machine. Use a little bit of bleach and wash. The spin cycle dries them. Do not put them in the dryer." That is good news... I wonder if you can do that with all "landscape material"?... probably not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patio garden


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I thought the price was extremely fair. I can't remember where I ordered them (it was a hydro place, I think), but I found them when I was ordering pH solution for my meter. The large one - 15 gal, IIRC - was $9. Given my work situation, that I choose not to drive a car unless it's really important, it would take me hours to get the stuff and make one. This works out much better for me.


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That's a good price...

Wow, 15 gallon is pretty big and the price is really good! Good luck with your tomato. I have 50 or so peppers in SPs going right now with a couple dozen more almost ready for transplanting. I know, I am nuts... lol


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Greetings all, I thought I would post a couple of update photos... 12 days since the last:

Laurie: were you able do find any of those plant stands in your local dollar store? Ken


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Hi Ken - No I have not found them in Dallas yet. I was even in Ohio and I looked there as well. I found a Dollar tree yesterday but it was closed so I will go back and look there this week.

Your pictures look amazing. It makes me miss the power of the Florida Sun. Are you watering 2 times a day or just one?

Laurie


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Laurie: Yes, I went back to several local Family Dollar stores to get some more and they were all sold out. They said it was a summer item. Oh well.

The mix I am using in these aeration containers is staying moist for several days at a time. Before all this rain I was watering twice a week. Last week I did not have to water at all. I had to add all the cane supports because of all the rain! Ken


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Ok, I have a question/suggestion:

Several people have said they like the idea of the wire supports in the above linked-to pot. Why couldn't you just turn the Family Dollar plant stands over and put the fabric pot between the legs? Maybe attach them to the wire some way. They would support the pot and from what I see, there would still be an air space under the pot for the root pruning/drainage issue.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Lee,

Although I have not had a need for wire supports on the sides with the pots I am using, your idea is certainly a good one for those who do. And if three loops (like horizontal belt loops) were sewn on the outside of the pots they would just slip down over the upright legs. Very creative idea. Ken


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O.k. Pepper dog now I am thinking. I wonder if I can take my fabric containers and put a loop on them and hang them from my fence. Another experiment. I will play around with this idea. More pics to follow.

Laurie


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Laurie: The upside-down plant stand would work well because the bottom of the container would be supported. If you hang them from anything you will be putting a lot of weight on loops. Obviously, if you try it you will have to make the stitches very strong. Ken


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I ran across this old thread today, after seeing these Smart pots advertised in a magazine. Is there any advantage in using these for greenhouse tomatoes? I have a soil "floor" but it's shallow. I am also a fanatic recycler and a sewer. I wondered if making fabric pots (maybe even without bottoms) would be beneficial at all.
Any comments? Are any of you still using these fabric pots?


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 20, 11 at 12:32

As long as your greenhouse floor drains well (doesn't get muddy) you can use 'smart pots' to your advantage to turn what would be a 'container' into a mini raised bed, hydrologically speaking. Water in the soil in these smart pots would then behave like it does in the earth. This would be a more effective way of using bagged soils that are excessively water-retentive with impunity. They won't LOOK pretty, but they'll definitely get the job done.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Have you seen or taken time to read the thread I'll link you to below? It will help you understand why water behaves differently in conventional containers than it does in raised beds and/or in the earth. You can see by the fact that there are almost 1,800 posts (collectively) since the original thread was posted in (05) that it is widely viewed as a valuable resource.

Best luck!

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Help understanding soils


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Aeration containers are great. Here is a picture of one my mangoes (Southern Blush) planted in a Gro Pot (made by C.A.P. similar to Smart Pots but with handles).


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I've been using smart pots for container vegetables for three years, and I love them. I was using a mix of two parts soil-less medium and one part compost in whiskey barrels and 20-25 gallon smart pots, and found that drainage was much better in the smart pots. I had to water the smart pots much more often than half barrels of the same size. I didn't understand what was going on until I started reading Al's posts on container soils and water retention, but now it all makes sense. The smart pots are more like mini-raised beds when they are in direct contact with the ground, so you can use heavier soils in them. Now I plan to use the 511 mix in the whiskey barrels and a different soil, including sand and compost, in the smart pots. I'm still trying to figure out the right mix. The one thing you need to do with fabric containers is to be willing to water more often.


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Hello Everyone...

Interesting thread...Enjoyed seeing these great "smart Pots"..

They look like they could really be helpful in many ways..especially with a good "mix" LOL..

The main reason that i wanted to post something here...is to Pepper Dog....because...i have a "pepperdog" here at home...he is a great little guy..(Mini Dashshund)...LOL..its probably a different reason why you are called that!! LOL...but it did catch my eye.. :)

I do like the "smart Pots" they look great with all of your new seedlings!!! Congrats!!!

Take care everyone...

Laura in VB


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Oh wow! I just saw this thread. I'm going to print it out for future refence. So you got those stands at Family Dollar last year? I live in Kissimmee, and work in Orlando so I'm going to hit up all the Family Dollars and see if I can find any. That is a very cool set up!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I've been experimenting with making different types of fabric containers from odds & ends laying around my garage. They are in their 1st growing season, so I don't know how durable they will be. They drain well & soil temps are cooler.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homemade Fabric Aeration Containers


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 6, 11 at 21:28

I went and looked. Cool! You'll keep us posted? I bet you'll be very happy with how they perform, as long as they hold up. Photobucket

Al


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Has anyone tried making aeration containers out of window screen?


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Just found this thread looking for white aeration pots (harder to find than black). I feel silly for not thinking of landscape fabric, now I'm just waiting for my fabric to arrive to get sewing.

For anyone interested, their is a practical reason for the differences in color.

Black pots are great for heating up the soil and roots (like how you wrap landscape fabric around a watermelons base in cold climates). Tomatoes, watermelons, potatoes, etc all love the extra heat and air in the black pots.

White fabric pots keep the soil up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than regular soil. This is essential for cool weather crops like peas and strawberries.

I'm starting my own strawberry plants this year from seed, and will sew a strawberry tower. I got the idea of white fabric pots from the same place I bought the seeds:
http://www.thestrawberrystore.com/buyplants/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=12

they sell pre-made white pots if anyone's interested, as well as strawberry plants. I only got the seeds because of cheap shipping.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Well after reading through this thread I decided to take the plunge and I just ordered a 3,5, & 10 gal Smart Pot, AeroPot and Gro Pot (all with handles). I'm going to test them all and see how they workout this season. Should be fun.

Jerry


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Here's my first smartpot...I'm trying this one out for the first time this summer. Since the smart pot only came in black, it gets very hot here in the summer and I thought the black would over heat and dry out too quickly...plus, it didn't have any handles...I sewed a heavy duty UV protected green shade cloth all the way around it and added handles...here's what the finished product looks like. I hope it works well...

After I got done sewing and customizing it


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Now that's a nice looking fabric pot!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

That looks too nice to be used as a smartpot. I would toss a towel & some flipflops in it & head to the beach.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 9, 11 at 19:34

You go, Nance!! That's great!

PhotobucketPhotobucket


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

THANKS GUYS!

Al, I love all the cute things above that you posted, thanks!
Very cool!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 9, 11 at 22:32

Lol - it's more fun to be around smiling people, so .....

Thanks!

Al


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Very nice pots guys. Puglvr, that looks a lot like the Fanntum Containers (fabric pots) I am testing. I also use Smart pots and white "plastic-bag" containers. Fanntum are very affordable, until you add shipping =( Smartpots are expensive, but the larger size you get the more of a bargain they become compared to any other container.

There are several reasons that folks use fabric pots: additional aeration, 'raised bed' similarities, cost, etc. But if you're looking for the benefit of "automatic air root pruning" you will almost certainly be disappointed, especially if making your own.

The design methods of getting roots to "self prune" aren't all that easy, as they will avoid the arid space.

A source I trust has used Rootmaker brand Air Root Pruning Containers (the plastic molded) for years and says they do actually root prune to grow a thicker root ball.

I'm also always on the look out at Dollar stores and such for the bargain price on those container stands! No such luck yet.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

For those of you who use felt, go to Target or the Dollar Tree now. They have St. Patrick Day felt hats that could use used for a cheap smaller felt pot. I'm sure this would only last one season, but it's worth a try for $1


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I just bought a "wonder pot" fabric container after reading all this. I will have a corner in my container garden that is not very visable and where I can't put anything permanant cause it is acess to an easement. So, I think I will put it there and put a squash in it. I got the 25 gal one. I do kind of feel like I bought an overpriced trash bag but we will see.

Ania


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Ania,
Did you like your wonderpot? It is a bit cheaper so I was considering it but would like your opinion first also I can see why you would say it is similar to a trashbag.

:)


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

The wonderput is alright. Really thin walls but it does the job. It's more like a thin tarp type material and so does not hold it's shape that well. I like that is it lighter in color than some of the others since it gets hot here. Pretty ugly though.

I just bought some burlap coffee sacks and am going to see if I can rig something up with those since they are breathable and more interesting looking.

Ania


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

What do you get when you put gritty mix in a Smartpot?

A Nitty Gritty Dirt Bag.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

That's good John!!!!!!!!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

It's been fun reading thru this thread.
I import burlap for a living. You can use the burlap bags as pot bags - but burlap will deteriorate in 3-4 months when it's out in the weather. Might not make it thru your growing season before the bottom falls out.
I use burlap in my garden. it's dense enough to help keep weeds out - but by next season it's pretty much gone.
Burlap is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics. Is very durable & will last for years - as long as it's not out in the environment.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Kitas,

That is disapointing to hear but thanks for the info. The coffee bags seemed like a good idea. Darn it!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Big news..Try the Plant Warrior products. I've had great success! I believe they just released the Holey Cone. I ordered my sets, they arrive early summer (2011)! Has anyone tried them, let me know. ~Shonya


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

John

The other day I was driving my daughter and 2 friends to Disney. A song was on the radio(Raise your Glass by Pink) and in there "nitty gritty" is in the lyrics. I just burst out laughing because I thought of the nitty gritty dirt bag line. I asked my daughter if she knew of the Nitty Gritty Dirt band, and of course she didn't. So I told her she wouldn't get the joke!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I used reusable grocery bags for about half of last season until I got some large pots. I had expected that the bags would break down in the sun, but they were just as strong after ~4 months as they'd been at the start, so they might have made it through the whole season after all. At $1 each, the price was definitely right, and one could, I suppose, double-bag them so that the outside one protected the inner one from UV rays.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

I just got 4 x 10 gallon Smart Pots. I'm going to try growing some bamboo in them, at least temporarily.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by jajm4 z5 w. mass usa (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 2, 11 at 3:01

Does anyone know what is used to make fabric UV resistant?

Now that I've finally heard of fabric planters, I want to try it but there are so many choices that I'm overwhelmed!

I am thinking if I grow tomatoes in a bag, the cages will surround the bags and help provide structure and prevent flopping. I don't quite know how to rig it, though. I guess it's just hard to believe these soft containers aren't going to blow over in the wind, or sag when the plant gets tall.

I also don't quite understand how people are saying they make self-watering fabric bags. Do you double layer the bag and fill the in between space with water? Does that really work? I imagine it just seeping out all over everything except the plant. We don't have a hose here (we rent and there's no spigot), so not having to haul water in watering cans quite so often would be great. But I can't picture any way it'd work with fabric. Yet people say they did it. Can you explain how?

I'll be disappointed if the air pruning turns out not to be a benefit. I guess it wouldn't be worse than hard plastic, though. So not a dealbreaker.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by jajm4 z5 w. mass usa (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 2, 11 at 13:49

starlady, are you still here?

I'm curious about, when you used reuseable grocery bags, did you mean the canvas ones? Or were they nylon? Or just regular plastic?

JerryVentura, how's the comparison experiment going?


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Al and others have mentioned that the hydrodynamics of soils in SmartPots changes depending on whether placed on a solid surface or directly on the ground.

I want to find the best solution for my perennials in my sunny balcony space and thought I would place my fabric containers directly on the solid concrete surface, but I've been thinking about an alternative.

-- What do you all think of putting a 5:1:1-filled fabric container in a regular pot saucer with an inch layer of gravel? Perhaps with a drain? Would that be able to wick enough to make the SmartPot act like a raised bed?

-- OR is it easier to simply use the traditional gritty mix in the SmartPot directly on concrete without the saucer/gravel and get similar qualities/performance?

Thanks for any advice...


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

To jajm4- I have 4 different brands of fabric pots going and as far as growing goes I really see no difference yet. I do however like the thicker ones better, the Smart Pot's are to thin and a couple times I have picked up and moved the Smart Pot and it felt like the handles were going to rip. Maybe later I will see a difference but I also like the taller ones, short and squatty just doesn't look right, but maybe roots grow out more than they grow down.

Jerry


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by jajm4 z5 w. mass usa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 8, 11 at 16:12

JerryVentura, which brands are thicker? I just ordered some smartpots in a variety of sizes to test, and some tomato grow bags from gardeners.com. Haven't invested in any others yet. It all adds up, dollar-wise! But in the long run, I'd like to get what works best and lasts the most seasons.

I agree about short pots; they worry me. Even if the roots don't mind, I don't want top-heavy plants. Maybe it's just an aesthetic thing, but it bothers my eyes.

I'm also thinking that the square ones might be better than round ones, because I really like my square(stackable!) tomato cages and they don't fit in round containers as well (unless the rounds are very, very, extra large-- larger than I'd otherwise want or need).


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Aero Bags, Geo Pot's, Gro Pots, and someone just sent me two Dirt bags but I haven't planted in them yet, all of these are thicker than Smart Pots. I bet the Smart Pots will last fine, I like having handles and the handles on the Smart Pots are just cut into the pot, it seems very flimsy, plus the top edge of the pot curls down in the way when I'm watering. That said, all the plants in the different pots seem to be growing just the same, so I really think it's just going to come down to your own personal preference.

Jerry


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I own both Geo Pots and Smart Pots.

Geo pots are definitely thicker than smart pots. I currently have 6 plants in smart pots and 6 plants in geo pots. Most of they are in 15 gallon bags but I do have 2 in 7 gallons. I must say I am happier with geo pots because they are thicker and come with handles. I recently learned about smart pots also make fabric pots with handles but it costs more than geo pots.

I have couple of blueberry plants in fabric pots and they are on my balcony. To address the drainage issue with fabric pots I put my pots on 2x4s. It actually works out pretty well!

Check out two of my geo pots in action ;)
Photobucket


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by jajm4 z5 w. mass usa (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 13, 11 at 0:52

The 2 x 4s for drainage is a great idea!

I wrote about this in the tomato bag thread (it loads faster than this one, and I have dial up!), but I am trying to figure out how to keep my fabric planters from becoming contaminated by the lead in the soil in my yard (soil contamination from the 100 year old house). I was thinking of trying putting plastic underneath them (either hard plastic saucer-type drippers or just plan plastic sheeting, like a tarp), but I am worried the fabric will rot if it sits on a non-draining surface.

I really like the idea of putting 2x4s underneath them, instead.

I also like the idea of gravel trays, especially for when I bring some of these pots indoors.

I was looking around on line for the various brands of thicker pots mentioned above, and I discovered there are even more brands being made now, such as the "Oregon Breather" (on Amazon), plus "EZ Root" aeration frames, which look like they might be useful, too.

Thanks for all the help, everyone!

Tonton, your balcony looks great! I hadn't even considered I might be able to grow blueberries, but now I am determined to try. Exciting!!


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I just received some various sized Dirt Bags in the mail - I was ordering some fertilizer online and the place I ordered from had Dirt Bags, Smart Pots, and Gro Pots, and the Dirt Bags were the cheapest. They look nice and sturdy. They are more wide than tall, but if they drain well then I don't think it should be an issue, plus that shape may help prevent it from tipping over. I would love to make my own fabric planters, but I don't have a sewing machine.

I like Tonton's 2x4 setup. The only place I have to garden is a wood deck in the back, and I've been trying to figure out a way to keep my containers off of the wood so the wood won't rot underneath them. What is the 2x4 sitting on top of - just more 2x4 sections? Those wire plant stands look pretty good too, if I can find them anywhere.

I'm also wondering about what kind of mix I should use in the bags - are most of you using the 5:1:1 mix? If so, how often do you have to water? I figure that since that mix is designed for normal pots, it would dry out more quickly in a fabric container. I'm in mid-90's Florida heat, and it seems like even my regular pots filled with normal water-retentive potting mix need to be watered at least once a day, so I'm concerned that if I try the 5:1:1 mix in the fabric containers, I'll have to be out there watering them constantly to prevent my plants from shriveling up.


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Morning, It's no where near as hot where I live, what dries my plants out is wind. We get a daily breeze/wind from the ocean, and around November we get strong hot Santa Ana winds. So in my veggie fabric containers I did 5 parts bark, 2 parts turface and 1 part pumice, I only water once a week right now but like I said, we're not super hot here. I would just play with it, what the hell, what do you lose, one veggie season.

I didn't take that attitude with my container plants though, I did 1part bark, 1part turface, 1part pumice, nothing drying out so far.

Jerry


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

  • Posted by jajm4 z5 w. mass usa (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 22, 11 at 21:39

It's been raining a lot here, so my big problem is that I've never had enough drainage no matter what I did, so I can't help much either. I would think that if you wanted to, you could always add more absorbent material later (top off the container) if you think it's drying out too fast. Or set the containers in a tray of water?


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My 2x4 are supported by bricks so water don't pooled between the 2x4s. I water my BB plants every 2-3 days pending on how hot it is. I water the pots until I see water run out from the bottom of the pots (even the fabric pots). I lost 2 blue berry plants due to poor drainage since they were sitting directly on concrete, and this prompted me to do the 2x4 thing.

The mix I use for the BB plants is made of 40% peat, 40% potting mix (from Kellogg), 5-8% perlite, and some cocoa shells. Nothing really special but it is working pretty well for me so far.

TT


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

Oh my stars . . . I just found this thread again . . . Would you believe I still have two of those fabric pots? Pepper dog - if you are out there . . . I now live near you.

I am planting my green beans, and several other plants in my new iterations of fabric pots.

How is everyone doing now with thier fabric pots? Has anyone seen the wooly pocket (pricey) but similar technology. Glad to be back in the SUNSHINE state!


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RE: Fabric Aeration Containers

You can create smart pots using landscape cloth, it seems very simple. Get the thick ones so they last longer.

I think these pots are a better option than garden pots or 5 gallon buckets.

Reusable grocery bags are similar to landscape fabric, as they also aerate the soil. Local stores sell them for 50c to 99c per bag. There is a guy on YouTube using Walmart grocery bags, at $0.50/each, self-watering using a rain gutter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CclTbusP7Ms and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRQzhFBCot4 ).

To self-water, the bags can have a net cup on bottom and sit inside something that is a few inches to hold water (found locally at hydroponic stores, on eBay, Amazon, etc. http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-keywords=3 inch net cup )

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Make a Fabric Pot using Landscape Cloth and Sewing Machine (w/out glue)


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