By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
The other day I was looking through my garden catalogs and dreaming about all the new gadgets I would like to buy.
One that I came upon was so simple and yet tied directly into the modern day movement of sustainability.
This item was gardening bags.
Studying these bags gave me some ideas. First I came up with reusing empty potting soil bags as my container. These would work but would eventually end up as trash. The next idea I had was using the reusable bags one gets at stores to carry home groceries.
These bags had everything I required for garden bags. They were reusable, had natural drainage, inexpensive, and could be found everywhere. So the journey of the garden bags began.
I started my experiment by planting potatoes in them. These bags due to their depth were prefect for this plant. I began the experience by chitting my seed potatoes 6 weeks before I planned to plant in the bags. I then prepared the soil by mixing potting soil and compost together and placing 1 inch of soil in each bag. I then placed 5 seed potatoes in each bag.
I topped these potatoes with 1 inch of soil and watered in with compost tea. Through this experiment I learned that if placed on bare concrete the bags would dry out quicker so place in place trays. I also learned that hanging these bags works for a while but the weight will eventually break the straps so plan where and how these bags are going to be used.
To allow for sunlight roll down the sides of these bags until the top of the soil is reached. Once potatoes start to sprout add another layer of soil, top with 5 more prepared seed potatoes, and another 1 inch of soil. Continue with this process until the top of the bag is reached.
Keep on watering the bag with compost tea until the plant begins to wilt and die back. Then dump garden bag onto ground and sort through the soil and plant material to harvest potatoes. In this case do not reuse potato soil for another crop. Place in compost pile to be recycled for another project.
Once potatoes are harvested store in paper bags or burlap bags by variety for use later. Repeat the process for another crop of potatoes.
These homemade garden bags can be used for green onions, tomatoes, peppers, and really any vegetable or herb that you can grow in a container. So now not only can you place your groceries in a reusable bag but you can also grow your vegetables in the same bag and harvest from your very own self-service garden.
So until we blog again, tisk it, a task it a breathable garden bag. Plant your groceries in these bags and watch your self-service garden grow into a bountiful haze. Reuse, recycle is the gardening ways to grow produce every day.