There are many excellent reasons to grow your own food.
- You’ll save money.
- The food tastes better.
- You can grow varieties you’ll never find at your grocery store.
- The food is much healthier. Commercial food is usually weeks old by the time it goes from farm to plate losing much of it’s nutrition along the way.
- You have control over what, if any, measures are taken to prevent pests.
- Growing your own food brings an immense amount of personal satisfaction.
But there are many reasons it may not be practical for you to have a vegetable garden. You may be short on space. You may rent and are not allowed to alter the landscaping. You may live where you have no yard or terrible soil conditions. You may not have the time or energy it takes to keep up a garden.
But as long as you have a small sunny spot – even if it’s concrete – you can easily grow your own food with this amazing do-it-yourself, self-watering garden system.
It’s so simple, so easy, and so productive you may want to smack yourself in the forehead and ask “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?”
This version of container gardening has some big built-in advantages. And the results speak for themselves.
Here are instructions are for the smallest “garden”. If you have more space, you can scale up.
Find a flat spot that gets enough sunlight to grow your plants of choice. Don’t worry what the surface is. You can do this on a lawn, deck, gravel, or pavement.
Is this space large enough to hold a small kiddie swimming pool? If not, no worries, you can still do this on an even smaller scale.
Gather the things you’ll need to get started:
- A small kiddie pool (usually 3-4 feet diameter)
- 5-6 recyclable shopping bags
- Potting soil
- Seeds or plants
- Fill each recyclable shopping bag with potting soil.
- Add plants or seeds to each bag and water as usual.
- Place your kiddie pool where you want to have your garden.
- Set bags in kiddie pool and add an inch of water.
As long as you keep 1″ of water in the pool, your garden will be self-watering.
I can hear your wheels spinning… When I first learned about this method I had a lot of questions, too!
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q: What can you grow in these garden bags?
A: Just about anything.
Most people start growing the basics like tomatoes, peppers, or lettuce. But I’ve seen people successfully grow fruits and vegetables of all kinds — strawberries, blackberries, potatoes, melons, pole beans, corn, and even fruit trees!
Q: Will my results be similar to traditional gardening or gardening in regular containers?
A: Your results can realistically be much better! Watch the short video at the end of this post and check out this Facebook group. I think you’ll be amazed at the productivity thousands of gardeners have experienced.
Q: Where’s the best place to get bags?
A: Oddly, the consensus is that Walmart bags — which are a steal at $.50 — hold up the best. Most gardeners get a few seasons out of them.
Instead of grocery bags you can buy bags specially designed for this purpose. They will hold up better and look nicer, but are more expensive. Two popular brands include Root Pouch and Smart Pots, both available on Amazon.
Q: Will my plants get rootbound?
A: No! Unlike growing in typical containers your plants won’t get rootbound since growing in bags “air prunes” the roots. (1)
Q: Will water in my kiddie pool will grow algae or attract mosquitoes?
A: Both algae and mosquitoes can be a problem. Drilling a drain hole in the side of the pool about 2 inches up will help. The video at the bottom of the post shows a simple float you can mount to get rid of extra water. Adding pea gravel to the water keeps both at bay, and looks more attractive, too.
Q: Can I still do this if I don’t have enough room for a kiddie pool?
A: Yes! If you don’t have enough space for a kiddie pool, you can put individual bags into any container that holds water. Plastic storage containers work well.
Q: I’m not always around. Is there a way to automate watering?
A: You can connect the kiddie pool to a water source with a valve to keep it automatically filled to 1″.
Q: Can I use compost in my grow bag garden?
A: Sure! Many container gardeners make their own soil mix – usually a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost.
If you are interested in learning more about growing your own food in small spaces, I urge you to join Rain Gutter Grow System Group Facebook Page.
You’ll find an active community bursting with innovative ideas on how to grow your own food using simple ideas like this one.
Some of the results some group members are getting will knock your socks off!
If you’ve ever lamented that you couldn’t grow your own vegetables because you had no space, it’s very likely that now you do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deane Alban holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years. Gardening has been a lifelong passion of hers.
Deane teaches the best ways to stay mentally sharp for life at her website BeBrainFit.com. Brain fog, “senior moments”, and fuzzy thinking are signs your brain is not working as well as it should. Discover how to nourish your brain and optimize your brainpower — sign up for her email series 21 Days to a Brighter Brain here.