Grow bags are a great option for growing tomatoes and many other crops in small spaces. But if the season is coming to a close, you may wonder: can you reuse grow bags for tomatoes? The answer is yes. Let’s find out how to store your grow bags properly to ensure they last and much more!
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What Is A Grow Bag?
If you’re looking for a way to grow tomatoes or other fruits or vegetables in small spaces, you’re bound to stumble upon the concept of grow bags at some point. These fabric bags are a great alternative to traditional planters for a variety of reasons: they’re cheaper, they’re bigger, they’re easier to store, they offer better drainage.
It’s not surprising, then, that so many balcony and deck gardeners have embraced grow bags. If you haven’t tried them yet and are wondering if it’s for you, have a look at the full post on grow bags for tomatoes to find out everything you need to know to get started!
Can You Reuse Grow Bags For Tomatoes?
Grow bags are absolutely reusable! Most will eventually degrade as a result of sun exposure and other weather conditions, but it can be years before this happens. This is one of the reasons they’re such an economical option, and if you use a recycled bag, environmentally friendly as well. Do make sure you get high-quality bags in the first place if you want to use yours for years to come.
And yes, you can also reuse grow bags for tomatoes, especially if you take care to wash and store them properly at the end of each growing season.
Can You Reuse The Soil?
It’s often recommended against to grow tomatoes in the same spot year after year due to the risk of diseases, fungi and pests building up in the soil. However, there’s also some discussion about the topic: some folks grow tomatoes in the same garden plot without any crop rotation just fine.
When it comes to grow bags, you could store the soil you used once the season is up, especially if this year’s plants seemed healthy and free of bugs and diseases. If you’re worried about the possible risks, just use it for something other than tomatoes next year.
You can also “solarize” the soil by placing it in black bags or lidded pots and then leaving them in the hot sun for a few weeks; the high temperatures should kill off most bugs and some pathogens. Sterilizing soil by baking it in the oven is possible as well, but it does mean the helpful micro-organisms that play such a big role in our (container) gardens will be gone.
If you’re going to reuse soil, be sure to mix in some new compost to replenish the necessary nutrients.
How To Store Grow Bags
Storing grow bags is easy. Most can be folded and stored flat, making them much more efficient for small spaces than pots. Just make sure you clean the bag before you store it. There are different ways to do so, but here’s a method that should work for most people:
- Remove the soil, storing it if you wish.
- Use a brush to scrub away any soil and other bits stuck to the grow bag.
- Fill a big bucket with warm water and dish soap. Many gardeners also swear by adding a tablespoon of baking soda.
- Let the bag soak and then scrub it gently with a soft brush.
- Rinse the bag.
- Important: let the grow bag dry thoroughly before storing it.
Other cleaning methods include using a pressure hose, soaking in a bleach solution or opting for hydrogen peroxide. Some gardeners even machine wash their grow bags using a cold, gentle cycle. Whatever manages to get the gunk off is fine.
TIP: To help make your grow bags last longer, avoid dragging them across rough floors when moving them. This can damage the bottom. Instead, slide a piece of cardboard under the bag first, or use a dolly.