Vertical grow bags are ideal for patio use, for those who live in apartments, and for growing plants with heavy fruit like tomatoes or strawberries. Vertical grow bags are usually made from plastic or vinyl, are designed for specific plant needs, and work by allowing gravity to direct nutrients directly to the plant. By inverting the growing process, plants grow down, eliminating the need for branch supports. Additionally, by keeping the entire plant off the ground, threats from insect damage, weed infiltration and fungal growth are reduced, requiring fewer treatments of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Vertical grow bags help to simplify garden maintenance.
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Things you need
- Vertical grow bag
- Potting soil
- Plant food
Choose a vertical grow bag based on the type of plant you wish to grow, but to prevent overcrowding, Chelsea Green recommends that you do not plant anything excessively large. A variety of vegetable and fruit plants can be grown in a vertical grow bag. Tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, strawberries, smaller versions of eggplant and cucumber, and a variety of herbs like mint, thyme and basil all work well. Though a vertical bag may not be specifically designed for the plant you wish to grow, the bag may work if the plants' nutritional needs are similar. Check with your local gardening professional for regional planting recommendations.
Place the plant in the vertical grow bag, pulling the stem through the hole at the bottom or, if your bag has multiple openings, make sure that you insert a separate seedling through each hole to maximise growing potential. For instance, tomato plant bags only have one opening at the bottom because gardeners can often reap a good crop from just one or two plants. Additionally, bags for strawberries have extra drainage holes at the bottom to prevent over-watering.
Fill the bag with fresh potting soil. Add fertiliser, compost and plant-specific food, if desired. Follow fertilising instructions closely. Some plants, like strawberries, should only be fertilised at specific times during the season, while tomatoes require constant and consistent fertilisation.
Hang vertical grow bag. Position the bag at least 4 feet above the ground to allow for plant growth. Ensure that the bag receives adequate sunlight for each plant type.
Water thoroughly after potting. Strawberries and herbs require adequate moisture to produce full, plump fruit and leaves. Check the bag frequently, as soil will dry out quickly in extreme heat.
Tips and warnings
- Vertical grow bags are for outdoor use only.
- Fertilise plant frequently to improve fruit and flower growth.
- Because vertical growing bags do not collect rainwater like a traditional garden, and are not as well insulated by ground soil, they may require more frequent watering.
- Trim and prune plants to increase fruit size.
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