Liz grew heirloom Pink Brandywine tomatoes in her Tomato Grow Bags. Talk about tough—the plants survived Hurricane Irene.
Harvested and cleaned, crosnes (Stachys affinis) are ready to eat raw or lightly stir-fried.
Because she has a shady back yard and poor soil, Susan uses Grow Bags to grow crosnes, putting the bags in a sunny location.
We’re an eclectic bunch of gardeners here at Gardener’s Supply. We love to try out new products in our own gardens and experiment with unusual plants. After hearing about some of these adventures in lunchroom and hallway conversations, I thought it would be fun to collect stories from fellow employee-owners about how they’re using one of our most popular products.
To get the ball rolling, I sent out a company-wide email with the subject line “What’s In Your Grow Bag?” Quite a bit, it turns out.
Liz Lawrence, merchandising, grew heirloom Pink Brandywine tomatoes in her black Tomato Grow Bags last summer. She filled the bags with Organic Container Mix, added our Tomato Fertilizer and positioned the bags alongside other heirloom tomatoes growing in a raised bed. Liz reports, “I had the best results in my Grow Bags. They turned out great! These are a very late tomato variety and I had gorgeous, very large, very heavy, extremely juicy, delicious ripe tomatoes right on time. I used Tomato Towers in them and all survived Hurricane Irene!”
PJ Benoit, customer service, gardens intensively in her small urban yard. She’s been growing potatoes in eight Potato Grow Bags for several years. “I use 100 percent of my own compost and add our organic All-Purpose Fertilizer. I have wonderful results and haven’t had to buy a potato since I began using this system.”
Ellen Cairns, customer service, uses Grow Bags to keep her potatoes high and dry. “The first year, I planted some potatoes in the bags and some in the ground,” she says. “We have very heavy, wet soil, and the ones in the ground basically drowned, while the ones in the bag did great.”
Chip Martin, customer service, loves to garden with his three young girls and says the black Potato Grow Bags are “great for the kids.” He says they “grow different funky potatoes: fingerling, cranberry, blue, red and other unusual varieties.” After harvest, he dumps out the bags, adds compost and mixes it all up for reuse next season.
Grown-up kids like Grow Bags, too, and find the bags fit their mobile lifestyles. Betsy Combs, customer service, says, “One of my children is going overseas this summer and is sad she’ll miss our garden here at home. To remedy the situation, I gave her two multi-pocket Grow Bags to bring on her trip to Spain to grow herbs in one and strawberries in the other. She recently told me that she just might bring my Salad Grow Bag, too!”
Peggy McIntyre, campus gardener, planted garlic in a Garlic Grow Bag and some in a raised bed last fall to compare the results. She covered the Grow Bag with a foot of bark mulch. Unfortunately, the raised bed had to be moved in early March, so she transplanted the garlic to a second Grow Bag, mulched it, and crossed her fingers. Despite the move, both garlic crops look great!
Susan Romanoff, creative director, and her husband, a food writer, grew the most unusual crop in Grow Bags: crosnes. Pronounced “crones”, these small, nutty tubers (Stachys affinis) are delicious raw or lightly sautéed or stir-fried. This delicacy has been compared to Jerusalem artichokes, water chestnuts and jicama. A member of the mint family, the plants can ramble in the garden, so Susan popped them into a Grow Bag to contain and coddle the crop. This year, she’s adding a Garlic Grow Bag for shallots and a Jumbo Potato Grow Bag for sweet potatoes. Yum!
What’s in your Grow Bag this summer? Send us your stories—we’d love to know!
The garlic on the left spent the winter in its Grow Bag, while the garlic on the right was transplanted into a bag in March. Thick mulch moderated the cold, dry winter conditions.
Sweet potatoes are one of the first crops we experimented with. The results were a big success. Learn how we did it in the article, How to Grow Sweet Potatoes.