Plant up a growing bag

Growing bags are an ideal way to grow tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and cucumber on sunny patios and balconies, as well as in the greenhouse. Our easy care guide will show you what to do.

What to do

  • Loosen the compost in the bag by shaking and kneading it like a pillow.
  • Shape the bag into a low hummock, making sure compost is evenly spread.
  • Pierce the base of bag for drainage and cut out the pre-marked planting squares or, if you are planting rows of salads, cut out a long rectangle.
  • Scoop out compost from each square leaving a hole big enough for the root ball of your plant. Put a plant in each hole and refill around it with compost. The top of each root ball should be just below the top of the bag.
  • Water well and label.

  • Growing bags

    Despite only measuring 35cm x 95cm (13in x 37in), growing bags have enough space for three vegetable plants that will provide you with enough food for several meals over the summer. Plant two to three plants in each bag during spring.

    Bags were traditionally used under glass and were introduced as an alternative to planting directly into greenhouse soil. Not having permanent borders meant the space could be used more efficiently throughout the year and plants would not become infected by soil-borne diseases. Today, they are still ideal for growing plants in the greenhouse, but are also perfect in a sunny spot outdoors.

    What to grow

    Growing bags are ideal for plants that don’t have deep roots, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, chilli peppers, aubergines and courgettes. Plant two to three plants in each bag during spring. Alternatively, cut a long panel in the top of the bag and sow salads in rows. Endive, lettuce, basil and rocket can be sown from spring to late summer.

    If growing salads, prepare the bag as before and cut out a long panel on top of the bag. Plant or sow in rows across the width of the bag.


    When taller growing or top-heavy crops are 20cm (8in) high, push a cane into the bag next to each plant. Tie the plant to the cane and attach the cane to a frame. This will prevent the plants from toppling over in the wind or if they become top heavy.

    Keep the compost moist and feed plants such as aubergine, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers with a high potash fertiliser when flowers appear – this will ensure you get the plumpest fruit. When crops have finished, split the bag open and recycle the compost as a soil conditioner in the garden.

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