Thursday, 2 July 2015

Veg bags

This is one of the veg bags alongside our south facing kitchen/bathroom extension. It's all concrete along here so raised beds of some sort or pots are the only realistic option for growing plants. For many years I grew chillies and tomatoes in pots but then thought I would be able to grow a greater variety of crops using a raised bed. I wasn't sure if it would work so rather than build more permanent beds made from wood I opted for the bags to start off with. They also makes it slightly easier to access the wall should we need to for maintenance purposes. If the experiment didn't work I could use them elsewhere in the garden or Freegle them. I have three bags altogether that I bought from Unwins but there are plenty of other sources on the web that sell them. They are now into their third year and are still intact but they do tend to "sag", so I have to kick the front facing side back into shape and prop it up with planted pots. I'm happy with them as an interim measure but I'm now considering a more long term replacement.

All three of the bags have tomatoes and onion/garlic borders but I also plant chillies, lettuce, beetroot or carrots. The one in the photo contains tomatoes, garlic (about to be harvested), onions (about to be harvested), lettuce, plus a couple of things (squash/marrow?) that popped up out of the compost added to the bag earlier in the year. Throughout the year there is always something growing in these bags, which are in our permaculture zone 1.

I add a thin layer of my own compost to the top twice a year and when stuff starts to actively grow I water them once a week with a very dilute feed of comfrey fertiliser (around 1:100). I've stopped the liquid feed now as I have added some shredded comfrey leaves to the surface.

I was thinking the other day that I wasn't having many problem with pests in the bags. I assumed it was because of the the mix of veg I had planted and the onion-garlic borders. Then this morning I spotted a frog, no doubt just having finished her breakfast and thereby zapping a few more pests for me. This is the third frog I've seen hopping around the garden. We don't have a pond - just some areas that are shady and covered in foliage, a couple of wood piles, and a few plant pot saucers containing water dotted around.

So, the veg bags are still looking good and I'll probably continue using them until they fall apart. 

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