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jacklyns
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Tomato growbags - how do they work?

So now I'm confused. I checked out some vegetable growbags, namely potato and tomato, over the weekend, and they've left me pretty confused as to how they work.
I was considering a growbag as it would spare me the trouble of looking for a deep enough container and I believed if the bag was specially designed for the purpose it would aid the growing process better. However the bags appear to be pretty flat. Not very different from cement bags when laid flat. How in the world do they accommodate the roots? Or, do tomato roots grow horizontal instead of vertical? Can someone shed some light on this please, before I go and commit the money to buying something that doesn't suit the purpose.
Many thanks in advance
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JONA878
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Hi Jacklyns

Grow bags are very useful if you are limited in open soil space for plantings.
Small veg. such as carrots and lettuce which have limited root systems are fine in the cheaper bags that you can buy but I would suggest that if you want to grow bigger plants like toms and cues then you go to a nursery and buy the best quality bags which contain greater volumes of compost.
Before useing the bags they need to be loosened up. Remember that they have been stacked in large quantities and as a result have been compressed down.
Tip the bag onto its edge on the ground and hit or punch the upper edge to completely loosen the soil inside.
Do this before you attempt to open the bags.....
Don't over plant the bag. The roots on toms and cues can get quite large.
Good quality bags contain enough food for a month or so but you will have to feed extra on long season crops.
Jona.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

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jacklyns
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Thanks Jona. That was incredibly helpful. I would never have known. I do have some large containers, and I was thinking I probably could also use the soil from the grow bags in the containers thus providing for more depth and greater number of plantations. Would that work, do you think? thanks again for your helpful advice.
cheers,
Jacklyn
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JONA878
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jacklyns wrote:Thanks Jona. That was incredibly helpful. I would never have known. I do have some large containers, and I was thinking I probably could also use the soil from the grow bags in the containers thus providing for more depth and greater number of plantations. Would that work, do you think? thanks again for your helpful advice.
cheers,
Jacklyn
You can use the soil from growbags for the containers Jacklyn, but it would be an expensive way of doing it. A large bag of potting compost would be a cheaper way. You can always add a little slow release fert to the compost as you fill the container.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

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Zapatay
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I saw some inexpensive growbags (w/o soil) in Ace Hardware's flyer yesterday ($5.00). I was interested in buying a few for my mother who has a difficult time bending at the waist - I could place these high on a table in her back patio .... She'd get to enjoy the fresh tomatoes she's raised me to appreciate. :)

Questions -
1 - Do I need to prepare and/or buy special soil for this type of growing enviornment? Special considerations?

2 - What size of bag would I need to grow a large tom plant? The one I saw online was 70 quarts and the one I saw in the flyer was 50 quarts.

3 - For Tomato plants - Do I want to concentrate on the bags height or width - Does it matter? Will the roots grow in the available space whether it's horizontal or vertical?

I have my dog (the boy) who loves fresh toms off the plant - I usually double fence the plants in hopes he doesnt get to them .... If I could put these higher where he can't reach them it would be so much easier!....




.. I didn't realize I replied to an existing post - sorry admin, let me know if you want me to move or repost in another spot.

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applestar
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I think it's OK (though others may not concur) because this will give us a chance to discuss grow bags sold in U.S. vs. the ones that have been in use in U.K. for some time now.

So far, the "grow bags" that I've seen in U.S. catalogs are no more than empty containers of various sizes and shapes made of sythetic fabric-like material.

The ones in U.K., as JONA described come filled with soil mixes that are, presumably, properly blended with the soil texture and fertilizer for the type of veg it is labeled for (as in this case, Tomato and Potato). I believe you're supposed to situate the bag, cut a small opening, moisten the mix, settle the bag, then cut openings for planting, and plant. The product concept "grew out of" the trick some gardeners were advocating for simply making openings in bags of "compost" or "potting/soil mix" (as we call them) for planting and for drainage. Since the plastic bags they normally come in is not always sturdy and deteriorate in the sun (and face it, not attractive... oh and insufficient depth for larger veg -- at one point, people were stacking bags and cutting through to the lower bag(s)), clever folks came up with the idea of packaging specialized potting/soil mix in sturdier, special-sized bags. Perhaps also with intent for post-consumer market of sufficient additional potting/soil mix to be purchased for re-filling the bags (are they re-usable?).

With U.S. ones, you will need to buy the potting mix separately. Sufficient to fill the bags. In catalogs, they usually sell a specialized "container mix" alongside the grow bags that is well-draining and is pre-mixed with water-gel polymer for moisture retention. I don't think the U.S. market is sophisticated to the point of making specialized individual veg soils except maybe tomato, though I think I have seen something labeled "for vegetable gardens". (aside from the houseplant market -- as in african violet, cactus, orchid, citrus, etc.)

JONA878
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Sorry star....I didn't realise that the grow bags over there in the US wher not pre-filled.
Over here in the UK grow bags are all ready-filled with compost and ready to plant.
Some have their tops marked with perferations to assist in the planting distances of the selected plants.
Best quality bags contain enough fert to last for the first two or three months of growth as well.
Quality can vary enormously and the price reflects this.
Speciatility bags can be bought for specific crops but this is usually on a commercial scale as they are filled to order.

Jona.

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