by Amber

Smart Planting in Fabric Pots

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Whether you’re growing plants indoors or outside, fabric pots offer them an environment not possible in a resin, metal, or plastic container. The air flow through the sidewalls does wonders for the root systems of anything you want to grow. It stops the problem of root-bound plants, increases their ability to use nutrients, and more, but also changes the environment inside the container.

Some people tried the Smart Pot and discovered that their regular potting mix increased the need to water phenomenally. Instead of examining the situation to correct the issue, they up and declared that this is not good water conservation. The mix they used was designed for plastic pots and created to allow for rapid drainage through a few small holes at the bottom of an solid walled container. This is all wrong when you grow in any kind of container with airflow through the sides. You’ll find a similar situation when growing in clay pots too – they dry out much faster than the plastic pots in the same spot that were potted using the same soilless mix.

Fabric pots are not water wasters when you use a heavy potting mix. This is not the right way to approach using these new containers with hydroponics where the moisture is recirculated. If that’s your method of growing, you should stick to coir and simply time nutrient flow so that roots don’t get too dry.

For anyone using traditional growing methods where you carry around the watering can or hose – this is the solution to reduce water use and drought damage to your crop.


Fabric Pot Growing Tips

Yeah, like that stuff beneath your feet. A heavy mix potting media contains about 50% soil and 50% compost. This gives you excellent moisture holding capabilities, keeps the media loose, and allows rapid root growth too. Just mix it yourself with a bag of potting soil and a bag of organic compost. Make sure the compost bag doesn’t say “landscape quality” – there is no doubt stuff in there you don’t want in your food!

You can always make the compost yourself. Another ingredient you should add to your heavy mix is vermicompost. How much will depend on the true consistency of the potting soil you have. A lot of times the dirt has a heavy clay content. This will make it need more compost to keep from turning into a solid. Worm compost does this too. It is much finer than soil, and turns to a muck when wet. It’s probably best to use no more than 5% worm poo in your mix. You can always give the plants periodic worm tea doses for great benefits without soil environment issues.

It’s a good idea to test your potting soil to discover its true composition. Take a handful and pour some water on it. What happens when you squeeze this mixture? Does it form a solid clump, or a one that remains grainy and easily crumbles even when wet? Loam will remain crumbly, while clay won’t crumble again until it is dry.

Sound too heavy for easy carrying around? If you’re using large fabric pots, why not make them mobile? They’re still not going to be easy to carry around due to the dimensions. Check out these nifty plant dollys. A simple thing to make. Don’t overlook the one with the stylish tuteur trellis – a way to make your tomato plants look decorative on the balcony, or in your living room.


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The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.