If you don’t have enough space for an outdoor garden, you probably already know about alternate ways to grow vegetables. Grow bags are one of the most common because they are convenient and easy to use.
But before you can start growing tomatoes, you have to know what size grow bag to use. Here’s how to figure out what size to pick and what factors you need to consider.
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Why Use a Grow Bag
If you don’t have space for a garden, grow bags aren’t your only option. You can also choose to plant tomatoes in containers, even something as simple as a large bucket. But there are some reasons to consider a tomato bag.
1. Tomato bags have good airflow.
Airflow helps prevent the soil from being too soggy and increases the amount of air in the soil. This helps prevent the soil from becoming compacted, which encourages growth and helps the roots absorb nutrients more readily.
2. Tomato plants in grow bags have better root systems.
The confined area encourages the plant to grow more roots. Instead of the roots continuing to grow longer. They stop growing because they sense the dry soil at the top of the bag and the plant puts out new roots. This makes the plant more robust.
3. They are portable and convenient.
You can move grow bags anywhere you want. If you don’t have enough outdoor floor space, you can even hang them to keep them out of the way, and you never have to worry about there being enough sunlight. You can just pick them up and move them to a better spot.
4. They provide excellent drainage.
You never need to worry about over-watering when using a grow bag for tomatoes. In addition to drainage holes, they are porous and let excess water evaporate quickly.
What to Consider When Choosing a Grow Bag
Here are a few things you need to think about to determine what size grow bag you need:
This is an important factor that directly affects how much space the plant needs. For example, if you’re growing cherry tomatoes, they obviously don’t need as much room as larger varieties.
Tomatoes need nutrient-rich soil, so the bag should be large enough to make sure it holds enough soil to deliver what the plants need.
Tomatoes thrive in moist conditions. The soil should never dry out completely, but tomatoes don’t like soil that’s too wet, either.
Bags can be tricky with this because the size of the bag affects how often you need to water it. Smaller bags dry out quickly, and any type of bag or container will dry out faster than soil in the ground.
You want to try to find a balance between a bag that’s so small, it will need watering multiple times a day, and one that is too big and will collect excess moisture.
One of the best things about growing tomatoes in bags is that, in most cases, they’re portable. If you need to move the bag into a safe location during a heavy downpour or severe thunderstorm, you can easily do so.
But you can only easily do so if the bag is small enough for you to lift. Large bags loaded with soil can be heavy so make sure you get something that you can easily handle.
What Size Grow Bag Do You Need for Tomatoes?
There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. The main thing to consider is the size of the tomato you’re growing. For example, cherry tomatoes require less room than other varieties.
Most tomatoes have a root depth of six to eight inches, and they should be planted about one or two inches under the soil. A grow bag has to accommodate this, so it should be anywhere from 10 to 12 inches deep and wider than six inches.
Of course, that’s on average. Depending on the variety of tomatoes you’re growing, you may want to go a little bigger or smaller. Research the plant you choose to determine root depth to ensure you pick the right size.
The most common size bags for growing tomatoes is five to seven gallons. This is enough for a single plant. Also, remember that you can grow more than one plant in a bag as long as the bag is big enough. Around 20 to 30 gallons is ideal for multiple plants.
Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Grow Bags
Here are some things that will make growing tomatoes in grow bags easier.
1. Choose the right variety. Some tomatoes that are suitable for grow bags include Ace 55 Hybrid, Alicant, Better Bush Hybrid, Bush Early Girl Hybrid, Bush Steak, Clear Pink Early, Gardener’s Delight, Health Kick Hybrid, Mountain Gold, Oregon Spring, Patio F1 Hybrid, Pik Red, Sweet 100, Solar Fire Hybrid, Sun Sugar, Talladega Hybrid, Tigerella, and Tumbler.
2. Wait to plant outside until the night temperature stays above 55 degrees (12.8°C). Start seedlings indoors or in a greenhouse with a heater. If the temperature is too low when planting, the plants will grow and flower, but they will not fruit.
3. Ensure that the bag has enough drainage to avoid problems with overwatering.
4. Loosen the soil in the bag before planting seedlings so that they have an easier time establishing roots.
5. Place the bag in a spot that has a lot of sunlight.
6. Fertilize regularly as plants grown in bags have access to limited nutrients.
7. Prune away any leaves or shoots that touch the soil to avoid fungus growth.
8. When watering, avoid getting the leaves wet as this can lead to fungal problems.
A Simple and Convenient Approach
If you’re planning to grow one plant in a grow bag, in most cases, a bag that’s 10 to 12 inches deep and holds five to seven gallons is good. You can also use a larger 20 to 30-gallon bag and plant two or three plants at once.
As you can see, growing plants in tomato bags are simple and easy. If you don’t have a lot of space, growing bags are the way to go.