Growing Tomatoes in Bags

okfarmgirl(7)January 1, 2012

I've found a number of articles on the web about people growing veggies in reusable grocery bags. I understand that they may biodegrade over time, but I'm hoping they will hold up for one season. I'm also considering poly grow-bags, but I'm not sure if those will work outdoors for an entire season either. Any advice on the bag idea would be great - I can't afford a slew of large pots and my dirt is basically sand, so I have to grow in containers.

My more pressing question is that I mostly like growing heirloom tomatoes. I will likely have 10-20 plants this coming year (if I don't go crazy and end up with a yard-full of bags!) I have a few questions about support for the plants. I can do cages at just under $3 a pop, or I have access to wooden stakes. I'm really thinking that ideally, I would love to just have smaller, bushier plants. Here's the dilemna though, I want them to be indeterminate. I want it all! LOL So - can I top-cut an indeterminate and will it still continue to bush (put on productive suckers) to keep it short, or will it just end up sprawling without some kind of support? Are there heirloom bush varieties that are indeterminate, or do I have to stagger some determinate plants to get spaced out harvests?

I was thinking I had to give up gardening for this coming year and now I'm re-excited after finding this bag idea. Any help or thoughts are much appreciated!

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Of the Grow Bags I've used I can only recommend the 73 qt tomato bags sold at Gardener's Supply. Pricey and more $$ with shipping than almost practical. But if dollars = investment for you, these grow bags will last for many years. The woven structure transfers water like none other in downpours, so over-watering is eliminated. I used a wood chip mulch to lessen splash, which lessens disease probability, and had great success in all Grow-bag grown tomato plants in 2011.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 2:28AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I wouldn't use the standard plastic carry-home-your-groceries bags. Once exposed to the sun they break down very quickly. Used some cut into strips for tomato ties once year and they fell apart with a couple of weeks.

The reusable bring-your-own-bags ones many stores sell for 10-50 cents each would last longer. A full season? perhaps.

But if you Google 'grow bags' all sorts of fabric/plastic plant growing bags come up and many are very inexpensive and will last for several seasons. I have used these for many different plants with great results and they come in many different sizes.

Also have several of these fabric Grow Pots that are going on 4 and 5 years old and still in great shape. Also come in many different sizes.

Only a couple of the many options available online. Check eBay for some good deals on several different brands.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 11:59AM
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I wonder if a straw bale garden might be more suited to your needs. I've been thinking about trying it out using this conditioning formula... wood ashes followed by lime and then bat guano or compost followed by a little topsoil.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I've thought about straw-bales, but don't have the money or the ability to transport them ($4 a bale is the best I've found around here).

I planted two reusable grocery bags with greens today and put them in the barn, elevated. I'm wondering if the elevation is going to make the dirt too cold, or if it matters. They are the fabric kind that's not cotton. I imagine the regular plastic ones would fall apart pretty quickly since I can rarely manage to get them into the house without breaking half the time!

I may look into doing a few grow pots - I did see them for pretty good prices on eBay. Definitely worth a look. I just figured if I could do it with an $.89 bag, all the better! Will report back with my findings as things progress.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 4:05PM
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