For me, a new gardening season means lots of excitement about learning new things and trying different methods. This year, my garden plan will include mostly containers and raised beds, so I wanted to share some knowledge surrounding eco friendly grow bags. They’re a great way to grow your own food and create a truly eco friendly garden, especially if you’re in an urban area and don’t have the space for raised garden beds.
I had never heard of a grow bag until a few years ago. After buying our little “modern farmhouse,” we acquired a large amount of fabric bags (they were the Root Pouch brand) left by the previous owner. I wanted to make use of them, but I wasn’t sure exactly how they worked.
After experimenting with grow bag gardening for a few years and doing some research of my own, I’m compiling everything I know into this post. Then, hopefully you can decide whether eco friendly grow bags are a good fit for your veggie garden endeavors.
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What are grow bags?
To put it very simply, grow bags are a type of planting container made of felt, hemp, canvas, or polypropylene. The most eco-friendly grow bags are made from natural fabrics. However, a recycled polypropylene grow bag is still not a terrible option in terms of sustainability.
These fabric pots develop strength in a plant’s root system, making the overall plant healthier. This happens via the roots grabbing onto the fabric and spreading out, creating wider root development. The felt-like fabrics of grow bags also help to provide plenty of tiny drainage holes, ridding the roots of excess water. This helps prevent issues like root rot from killing the plant.
Grow bags come in several different sizes and shapes, ranging from 1 gallon to 10 gallons or more. You could grow something as tall and prolific as blueberries in a grow bag, or something small like lettuce or radishes.
In fact, grow bags make excellent mediums for growing plants with large roots. Think potatoes, carrots, beets, or other root veggies.
Grow Bags and Air Pruning
Air pruning is a method of growing plants in containers where the roots are exposed to air, which helps to encourage healthy root growth. This is why many people choose to use grow bags in gardening.
The way it works is this: when the roots of the plants reach the edge of the grow bag, they are exposed to air, which dries out the tips of the roots. This triggers the plant to stop growing roots in that direction and instead, produce more fine root hairs that are better equipped to absorb water and nutrients.
The result is a better root system, leading to healthier plant growth!
Advantages and Disadvantages to Grow Bags
There are numerous advantages to ditching plastic containers in favor of eco-friendly grow bags. Here is a quick reference list of pros and cons regarding grow bags, as they relate to other planting containers:
|Environmentally friendly||May have a shorter lifespan|
|Better drainage||Require more frequent watering|
|Easier to pick up and move around||Fewer decorative options|
|Make it possible to grow in a small space||Limited root space for larger plants|
How To Find Eco-Friendly Grow Bags
If you want truly eco-friendly grow bags, it’s important to look for options made from sustainable materials. Look for grow bags made from recycled materials, like recycled plastic or recycled fabric. Avoid options made from single-use polypropylene or plastic. Not only are they harmful to the environment, but they’re also less durable.
Grow bags made from biodegradable materials, such as natural fibers or jute, actually compost down and won’t contribute to plastic waste in landfills. And grow bags that are free of harmful chemicals and pesticides make for a more eco-friendly option as well.
Of course, you can find a plethora of different grow bags online. Coming up next is a list of a few truly eco-friendly options to look into, including some I’ve used myself.
Brands & Where To Buy Eco-Friendly Grow Bags
When it comes to grow bags, there is a wide range of sizes and materials available on the market today.
My favorite brand of grow bag is Root Pouch. They are actually made from recycled plastic bottles and are a breathable, yet well-insulated planting vessel. I also love that they come in very large sizes, up to 25 gallons!
Bio-D grow pots are made of a 100% plant based fabric, making them completely biodegradable and compostable.
This Jute Garden Grow Bag has an attractive design and is made of eco-friendly jute.
Q&A about Eco-Friendly Grow Bags
What can I grow in a grow bag?
Almost anything can be grown in a grow bag, including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and more.
Are grow bags better than terracotta pots?
It can depend, but the main advantage that grow bags have over terracotta pots is that they are made of breathable fabric. Clay pots tend to trap heat, which can be bad for root health and potentially cause a plant to wilt more quickly.
Do you need saucers for grow bags?
It is not necessary to use planter saucer captures with grow bags, unless you will be using them indoors! Then you will definitely want a saucer, since grow bags are porous and have the potential to get moisture all over your floors.
Are grow bags compostable?
This depends on the material of the grow bags. Most grow bags are actually made of polypropylene, which will not break down in a compost pile. Only grow bags made of 100% plant based materials (like jute or other natural fibers) are compostable.
Ditch the plastic pots and watch your root systems produce healthier plants. I hope this post equipped you to grow in sustainable gardening!
Tiffany is a mama to four boys, second generation homeschooler, and college graduate with degrees in both music and business. Now, she is a natural living and homestead enthusiast who loves gardening and raising chickens, pigs, and cows. A lifelong believer in Jesus, she has a burning desire to bring Him glory in everything she does. A worship leader and musician, she also loves to write songs and play the piano in what spare time she finds.