I’m all for planting in well-worked, well-maintained garden beds, but because of busy schedules and limited growing space, that isn’t an option for everyone. If you’ve been thinking of taking the plunge into the joy of growing your own food and want to start with an easy method, a bag garden might be for you.
To plant a bag garden, you simply purchase a few bags of topsoil from your local garden center (buy more than a few if you have the space and want to grow even more). Lay the bags anywhere that gets full sun and has dirt below—most people just lay them on the edge of a yard in the grass (note: the bags will kill the lawn directly below them, but that’s OK because this has transformed into garden space).
Next, use a utility knife to cut out a large, rectangular window on the upper surface of each bag. Leave the sides and 2 inches of each top edge intact, resembling a picture frame (see illustration above). The 2-inch rim of plastic will keep the soil from spilling and help retain moisture. Lightly dust the surface of the soil inside the bags with organic fertilizer and mix it in with a trowel. (Skip this if the bag’s label says fertilizer has already been added.)
After that, stab each bag through at least a dozen times with a screwdriver or a big knife to create plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. Plant roots will eventually use these holes to grow down into the soil below the bags.
Next, it’s time to plant your seeds! Consider trying easy-to-grow spring crops such as lettuce and spinach. Then, sit back, watch your veggies grow, and before you know it you’ll be enjoying a fresh salad you grew yourself!
For more on bag gardening, see Start a Quick and Easy Food Garden.
Illustration by Keith Ward