By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
What does a wine bag and a root crop have in common?
Well, on the surface nothing but if you look at the design of the bag and know the requirements of these crops then you can figure out the common ground, which is depth.
A wine bag is a very deep container designed to hold wine bottles and root crops need a certain depth of soil. When combined a wine bag is a perfect container for root crops.
But what is a root crop and how do you plant a wine bag? A root crop is anything by which you eat the root and sometimes the leaves. This includes potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
All of these vegetables require a deep soil that is loose and free of stones, which can deform the vegetable if the root hits it. This is where the bag comes into play.
A wine bag is several inches deep and in doing so can address the needs of root crops. First, it can be filled as deep as needed and the soil can be designed to eliminate any stones or soil obstructions.
Second, the soil can be layered as needed, which is important if you plant potatoes and third, a wine bag is a very inexpensive investment that can house many different plants.
To convert a wine bag into a planter starts with creating the soil required for the particular root crop. Since this bag is cloth and quite porous, you will also want to add a water retaining element to the soil mix, which can be peat moss. Once that is done, fill the bag all the way to the top unless you are planting potatoes. There is no reason to add any type of drainage material since the bag is so porous.
After the bag has been filled, plant your seed and top with ¼ inch of soil. Place the bag on a tray so that it can be moved and water in gently. Keep in mind that most of the seeds of roots crops are very small and will get buried if watered too hard. So use a fine mist or a gently sprinkle when it comes to watering.
Then, place in the correct environment, monitor moisture level and wait until harvest time.
On the other hand, if you are planting potatoes, place about two inches of soil in the bottom of the bag and then plant your potato eyes. Cover with a layer of soil but do not fill the bag. This will be done later.
Once you begin to see foliage growing in your bag, add another layer of soil. Continue with this pattern until the bag is full of soil. Utilizing this approach will increase the yield of your potatoes.
So until we blog again, planting bags may come and go but nothing beats a repurposed one.