Grow bags for tomatoes are a good solution for people that don’t have a yard or garden plot. They have some advantages (breathability) over other type of planters typically used for tomatoes. Find out everything you need to tát know around the best grow bags for tomatoes.
Jump to: | What Are Grow Bags? | Pros & Cons using Grow Bags for Tomatoes | What Size Grow Bag? | Planting Guide for Using Grow Bags | Best Grow Bags | FAQ
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What Are Tomato Grow Bags?
Also known as fabric pots, growing bags are just that. They’re containers that can be filled with soil to tát grow plants in, ranging in volume from a gallon to tát 100 gallons or more. But rather phàn nàn using plastic or terracotta lượt thích traditional planters, they’re made of fabric, often a felt-like material.
These pliable bags are perfect for gardeners who want to tát grow edible crops lượt thích tomatoes but don’t have a lot of space. This may also be why they’re traditionally more popular in the UK phàn nàn in the US, as space is more plentiful here. Still, we’re definitely catching on to tát the idea, and grow bags are becoming more and more common among those who can’t plant their tomatoes directly in the ground.
Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using grow bags, what size you need to tát grow tomatoes and how to tát phối up your own little tomato garden on a deck or balcony using these nifty pot replacements.
Did you know? Sometimes, especially in the UK, the term ‘grow bag’ refers to tát growing tomatoes and other vegetables directly in the plastic bags that garden soil comes in. This is not my preferred method, especially since dedicated fabric grow bags are so sánh handy and cheap.
Are Grow Bags Good for Growing Tomatoes?
One of the unique advantages of using grow bags for tomatoes that gardeners appreciate is the concept of air pruning. As you may have seen yourself, in a normal planter, tomato roots can get a little wonky as the plant outgrows its container. They circle round and round the edges of the pot, sometimes practically strangling themselves (this is referred to tát as “root-bound”).
With grow bags, since they’re permeable, roots that grow outwards will eventually hit a zone in the soil that’s more airy and lower in moisture. This causes their tips to tát die off, signaling that this isn’t the right way for them to tát grow. The plant will prioritize roots in better areas as a result, which means it makes better use of the space it has available.
Other advantages of using grow bags for tomatoes include:
- They make gardening in small spaces possible, lượt thích growing tomatoes on your deck or balcony.
- Fantastic aeration, which really helps your plants to tát grow healthy roots.
- Excellent drainage, so sánh no more risk of accidentally drowning your plants!
- They’re much cheaper phàn nàn large planters or raised beds.
- They can be folded and stored once the season is up to tát save space.
- You can move grow bags around if need be. Most have handles.
Of course, there are also some disadvantages. I wish there was such a thing as the perfect plant container, but alas.
- The soil in grow bags dries out more quickly. This means less risk of root rot, but you tự have to tát stay on top of things during summertime.
- Grow bags don’t last as long as some traditional containers. They can be reused, but not indefinitely.
- They’re not as portable as some make them out to tát be, because large ones tự get very heavy.
- If you’re looking for something biodegradable, keep in mind that many grow bags are made using plastic-based fabrics. In some cases, though, these will be recycled plastics, so sánh that’s something.
- On chilly nights at the start and kết thúc of the season, grow bags don’t offer the same insulation that some normal planters will.
- I’ll admit it: their looks are less phàn nàn stellar compared to tát something lượt thích a pretty ceramic planter.
Pots vs Grow Bags
So, based on the above, should you be using regular pots or grow bags for your tomato crops this year? In the kết thúc, both work, and it does depend on your own preferences. However, given their advantages and the fact that it’s easier to tát go large with grow bags, I’ll definitely be using a few of them this year. I encourage you to tát try both and figure out for yourself which you prefer!
I particularly appreciate the improved drainage: although an unglazed terracotta planter is also porous and allows excess water to tát evaporate. Grow bags really tự excel in preventing wet feet in your tomato plants.
What Size Grow Bag For Tomatoes?
Determinate or indeterminate?
As discussed in my extensive post on growing heirloom tomatoes in pots, the right size container for a tomato plant depends on whether it’s determinate or indeterminate. This also applies when using grow bags.
Quick recap: determinate tomatoes grow to tát a limited size and put out all their fruit in one go, so sánh you’ll get a more manageable plant but only one harvest. Most determinate tomatoes have stocky stems and tự not need trellis systems.
The majority of tomato cultivars are indeterminate, however. These keep growing until the season ends and can reach large sizes. They also keep producing fruit until they die. Due to tát their sprawling growth habits, indeterminates need a trellis or other tư vấn system to tát keep them from falling over or breaking if you grow them in a grow bag.
You can easily look up the tomato variety you’ve got on your hands to tát find out if it’s determinate or indeterminate. My favorite determinate heirlooms include Bush Champion, Patio and Totem.
Great indeterminates that will tự well in grow bags include the relatively compact Green Zebra and the robust Druzba, among many others.
Grow Bag Size
Figured out whether the tomato variety you’re planning on growing is determinate or indeterminate? Great! Let’s move on to tát seeing what size grow bag will work well.
Let bủ start off by saying you’d tự well to tát forget about your standard 5-gallon container size: it’s just too small for your plants to tát ever achieve their full potential. The soil will dry out too quickly and the roots won’t have enough space.
Instead, when using grow bags for tomatoes, it’s a good idea to tát stick to tát something lượt thích the following:
- Determinate: 7-10 gallon grow bags should work well. Going a little bigger is definitely not a problem either!
- Indeterminate: 15-25 gallon grow bags are best. Give those roots some space to tát thrive.
Try to tát ensure the grow bag you’re using is at least around 15″ deep. Some are very shallow!
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Do remember that the ones that are taller phàn nàn they are wide may need a little stabilization to tát prevent them from falling over, as tomatoes bearing fruit can become rather top heavy.
Planting Guide for Using Grow Bags for Tomatoes
Now that you now what size grow bag(s) you’re going to tát need to tát get those tomatoes producing a good harvest, let’s have a look at how to tát successfully grow them from seed to tát salad. I promise you don’t have to tát be a gardening guru to tát tự it.
Here are the basics that you’ll need to tát get started for one tomato plant in one grow bag:
- Tomato seedling: grow your own using the instructions in the post on germinating tomato seeds indoors. Or buy some at the local nursery!
- Grow bag: see below for some good options.
- Soil: a high-quality and well-draining mix for container growing, not just garden soil. Add some compost if you can.
- Stake or trellis: trust bủ, you’re going to tát need one with the indeterminate tomato varieties. Find out more in the post on cages vs staking vs fencing for tomatoes.
- Fertilizer: homemade is great, but commercial water-soluble fertilizers are fine too. Some time-release fertilizer lượt thích Osmocote Plus is a good addition.
To get started, place the grow bag in a location that will get plenty of sun to tát prevent legginess and stunted growth, though maybe avoid the most scorching afternoon rays. The spot should be sheltered from excess wind and harsh weather.
If you grew the seedling indoors, you’ll need to tát harden it off first. Then, fill the grow bag with the soil you prepared and pop the seedling in there nice and deep.
Since it’ll grow very quickly, it’s a good idea to tát install the stake or trellis you’re using at this point. Secure it well to tát prevent issues in the future.
Your main concern while making sure your tomato plants thrive and produce lots of fruit is water. Containers always dry out more quickly phàn nàn normal garden beds, but this is even more extreme with grow bags! Be sure to tát kiểm tra the soil daily.
It’s almost impossible to tát overwater while using these bags, so sánh this is one of the only situations in gardening where it’s better to tát err on the side of overdoing it rather phàn nàn letting the soil dry out too much.
Because these plants are so sánh vigorous, even the determinate varieties, they’ll need plenty of fertilizer. Aside from the time-release fertilizer I recommended earlier, it’s a good idea to tát apply a liquid option lượt thích fish fertilizer every two weeks or so sánh. Sorry, I know it smells terrible!
Remember that, even though you don’t need a green thumb to tát grow your own tomatoes, it’s always possible to tát lập cập into trouble along the way. It happens to tát the best of us.
Here are some common issues and how to tát giảm giá khuyến mãi with them:
- Dealing with blossom kết thúc rot
- Common tomato nutritional deficiencies
- How to tát prevent cracking
What Are The Best Grow Bags For Tomatoes?
Most grow bags are made of non-woven fabric, often polypropylene. This refers to tát fibers that have been stuck together using something lượt thích a glue material, such as felt. This tends to tát make the bags stronger phàn nàn if they would have been made using traditional weaving methods. As much as I love jute grow bags, the sturdiness of non-woven fabric just works better for larger bags.
There are also pure plastic grow bags out there, but I’m not too keen on those myself either. I feel lượt thích I might as well go for a normal pot at that point! The whole reason fabric grow bags are so sánh great is because their material is highly breathable.
Here are a few options that tick all the boxes:
- Gardzen Grow Bags: I lượt thích these because they’re available in large sizes up to tát 25 gallons. They’re made of sturdy fabric and have handles, plus their màu đen means any stains won’t be visible on the bag.
- iPower Grow Bags: At a maximum size of up to tát 30 gallons, these are great grow bags for tomatoes. They’re made of non-woven fabric and have a flat base.
- Smirdx Grow Bags: Go big or go home! These grow bags are available in sizes of up to tát 100 gallons, although there are also smaller options.
- OPULENT SYSTEMS Grow Bags: These are extra heavy duty, so sánh you won’t have to tát worry about them breaking. They’re available in six different sizes, between 2 and đôi mươi gallons.
TIP: The volume in gallons listed for grow bags isn’t always accurate. It’s supposed to tát refer to tát the amount of soil that the bag can hold, but there’s no standardized sizing, so sánh you’ll often just have to tát eyeball it. Luckily, half a gallon more or less won’t make or break your harvest.
How many tomato plants fit in a grow bag?
That depends! But in most cases, it’s best to tát stick to tát one plant per grow bag for an optimal harvest. Tomatoes have very large root systems, after all.
What size grow bag for cherry tomatoes?
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Many cherry tomato varieties and indeterminate, meaning that they need a large grow bag to tát accommodate their big root system. Since they don’t stop growing until the kết thúc of the season, they also require a trellis or tư vấn. You can get away with a medium-sized bag (ie. 7-10 gallons) for determinate tomato cultivars, but with most other types, it’s better to tát go for at least 15 gallons to tát avoid stunting the plant and getting a reduced harvest.
Can you reuse grow bags for tomatoes?
Yes, as long as you take care with the cleaning and storage. This post on How to tát Reuse Grow bags will help with the details.