from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

What’s In Your Grow Bag?

Liz grew heirloom Pink Brandywine tomatoes in her Tomato Grow Bags. Talk about tough—the plants survived Hurricane Irene.

We’re an eclectic bunch of gardeners here at Gardener’s Supply. We love to try out new products in our own gardens and experiment with unusual plants. After hearing about some of these adventures in lunchroom and hallway conversations, I thought it would be fun to collect stories from fellow employee-owners about how they’re using one of our most popular products.

To get the ball rolling, I sent out a company-wide email with the subject line “What’s In Your Grow Bag?” Quite a bit, it turns out.

Liz Lawrence, merchandising, grew heirloom Pink Brandywine tomatoes in her black Tomato Grow Bags last summer. She filled the bags with Organic Container Mix, added our Tomato Fertilizer and positioned the bags alongside other heirloom tomatoes growing in a raised bed. Liz reports, “I had the best results in my Grow Bags. They turned out great! These are a very late tomato variety and I had gorgeous, very large, very heavy, extremely juicy, delicious ripe tomatoes right on time. I used Tomato Towers in them and all survived Hurricane Irene!”

PJ Benoit, customer service, gardens intensively in her small urban yard. She’s been growing potatoes in eight Potato Grow Bags for several years. “I use 100 percent of my own compost and add our organic All-Purpose Fertilizer. I have wonderful results and haven’t had to buy a potato since I began using this system.”

The garlic on the left spent the winter in its Grow Bag, while the garlic on the right was transplanted into a bag in March. Thick mulch moderated the cold, dry winter conditions.

Ellen Cairns, customer service, uses Grow Bags to keep her potatoes high and dry. “The first year, I planted some potatoes in the bags and some in the ground,” she says. “We have very heavy, wet soil, and the ones in the ground basically drowned, while the ones in the bag did great.”

Chip Martin, customer service, loves to garden with his three young girls and says the black Potato Grow Bags are “great for the kids.” He says they “grow different funky potatoes: fingerling, cranberry, blue, red and other unusual varieties.” After harvest, he dumps out the bags, adds compost and mixes it all up for reuse next season.

Because she has a shady back yard and poor soil, Susan uses Grow Bags to grow crosnes, putting the bags in a sunny location.

Peggy McIntyre, campus gardener, planted garlic in a Garlic Grow Bag and some in a raised bed last fall to compare the results. She covered the Grow Bag with a foot of bark mulch. Unfortunately, the raised bed had to be moved in early March, so she transplanted the garlic to a second Grow Bag, mulched it, and crossed her fingers. Despite the move, both garlic crops look great!

Grown-up kids like Grow Bags, too, and find the bags fit their mobile lifestyles. Betsy Combs, customer service, says, “One of my children is going overseas this summer and is sad she’ll miss our garden here at home. To remedy the situation, I gave her two multi-pocket Grow Bags to bring on her trip to Spain to grow herbs in one and strawberries in the other. She recently told me that she just might bring my Salad Grow Bag, too!”

Harvested and cleaned, crosnes (Stachys affinis) are ready to eat raw or lightly stir-fried.

Susan Romanoff, creative director, and her husband, a food writer, grew the most unusual crop in Grow Bags: crosnes. Pronounced “crones”, these small, nutty tubers (Stachys affinis) are delicious raw or lightly sautéed or stir-fried. This delicacy has been compared to Jerusalem artichokes, water chestnuts and jicama. A member of the mint family, the plants can ramble in the garden, so Susan popped them into a Grow Bag to contain and coddle the crop. This year, she’s adding a Garlic Grow Bag for shallots and a Jumbo Potato Grow Bag for sweet potatoes. Yum!

What’s in your Grow Bag this summer? Send us your stories—we’d love to know!

Sweet potatoes are one of the first crops we experimented with. The results were a big success. Learn how we did it in the article, How to Grow Sweet Potatoes.

 

Ann Whitman, Gardener’s Supply

9 Comments

  1. May 22, 2012    

    Potato grow bags growing Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes. Works great!

  2. Anonymous
    May 22, 2012    

    I sent each of my grandchildren an orange grow bag for Easter along with a package of carrot seeds. The boys in Texas will wait until the fall the plant theirs. But my granddaughter in WI has baby carrots starting. Sandra F, LaCrescent MN

  3. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012    

    I grow my dahlias in the grow bags. They do well, and are easy to remove at the end of the season.

  4. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012    

    Has anyone tried growing pumpkins in these grow bags? I just planted some pumpkin seeds into a couple of splayed open 40# bags of topsoil in the sunniest spot in my front yard (the grass is dead any) but it looks kind of silly.

  5. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012    

    Year one:
    Peruvian blue potatoes
    Year two:
    Carrots
    Year three (this season):
    Beets

  6. Faye Burke
    May 31, 2012    

    Two tan bags 1,Jumbo and one small with red skin potatoes in large and yukon gold in small. small is nearly ready to harvest.First year for me and first ever growing potatoes.Small black with sweet 100’s tomatoes next to my raised beds.In zone 6 already dry and hot. will be a good test for the grow bags.

  7. Anonymous
    June 1, 2012    

    The past 3 years I’ve grown Kentucky Wonder Beans in my grow bag. There’s room for the metal bean tower to support the vines. I plant about 10 beans & they do quite well.

  8. Anonymous
    June 2, 2012    

    These bags are a wonderful idea, but do NOT work in Arid Zones. I live and garden in Tucson, AZ. We have temps in the 100’s right now and daily humidity, 4%. That’s right- four percent humidity and when the temps rise above 100F and the wind blows- and it always blows- my garden soil turns into a dry sponge. I mulch and water a lot, but these bags (and those “Topsy Turvie” Tomato planters) are a cruel joke in the desert.
    I did like the photo of the partially buried bag, I’m gonna try that! More later, happy gardening all!

  9. Anonymous
    June 5, 2012    

    I used black grow bags for tomatoes in Colorado. They did fine until July when it got too hot. Even watering them alot didn’t help because they dried out so fast. I think they are a great idea in some areas but like the person in Tuscon mine didn’t work.

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