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A Super-Simple Way to Grow Food: Start a Bag Garden

A Super-Simple Way to Grow Food: Start a Bag Garden

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

Related: How to Grow 5 Spring BasicsYou Can Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet, and Plan an Herb Garden for Next Spring

Read more: Eco-friendly tips, Green, Home, Household Hints, Lawns & Gardens, Outdoor Activities, , , , , , , ,

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Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic Gardening content and the Vegetable Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening, small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The Rowdy Radish.


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7:32PM PDT on May 4, 2013

Thank you
Valuable information

4:26AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013


4:59AM PDT on Apr 29, 2013

I seen this in action and will use it this year for salads and herbs.

6:25PM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Now were talking

4:29PM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

This really works. I have been using the bags,that are made for this!Also I have the watering-box under the bag,so no need to worry about everyday watering!

7:14AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013


4:38AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Great idea. But I only have a balcony with a stone floor :-(...

4:33AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

4:29AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

thankyou, I recommend good quality soil/potting mix for this, not the cheap one.

4:50PM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

Brilliant. Thanks

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