Easiest Beginner Vegetable Garden Planted Right in the Bag!

Experimenting with this type of vegetable patch I learned from a children's book has taken the fear out of gardening for me.

I may fail publicly by broadcasting this gardening endeavor. But if it is a success I may have found the easiest way ever to plant vegetables! 

Sorely lacking a green thumb is hard to take when you see other people effortlessly pulling bushels full of tomatoes, zucchini and spring onions from their gardens each summer.  

My skills are so sparce that I had to check out a children’s book on the subject of starting a vegetable garden for the first time to gain courage.  It was in a children’s book that I discovered what I hope becomes a very simple and worthwhile adventure. 

Instead of doing the back breaking work of digging a vegetable patch into the lawn, you simply purchase bags of potting/vegetable/planting soil and place flat on top of wet newspaper wherever you can fit it in your yard.  Cut off the top of the bag like it’s a giant sheet cake, poke a dozen or so holes in the bottom with a screwdriver and voila, your vegetables are ready to be planted, right in the bag! 

I am truly not sure if these plants will produce vegetables successfully.  They have been planted for about 3 weeks now and look very strong, tall and proud, especially with all the rain we have been having. 

I planted a large tomato plant against the wall of our house so that we could tie it to a trellis when it becomes heavy.   I have another tomato plant inside a metal climber.  In the other 4 bags I planted zucchini, cucumber, fennel, romaine lettuce, broccoli and brussels sprouts.   

The best thing I can say about this method so far is that he weeding is a breeze. The only thing I have had to worry about is the maple seedlings that fly off a neighboring tree. Other than that, there is no weeding involved.  I used half organic bags which claimed to grow vegetables to twice the size of normal soil. I used half regular Miracle Grow soil and will do a taste test once the veggies all come up! 

My only concern with this method is that the depth of the bags will not be enough to contain large roots that the tomatoes have.  I asked my friend Jan Happel, the expert gardner, what she thought of this.  She said we would have to wait and see but added, “You can grow tomatoes in a bale of hay.”  

Expert gardeners have so much confidence.  I hope this method brings me confidence too and a basket or two of vegetables.  The last time I tried to grow veggies in a bed in my back yard it cost me a $100 to grow 10-foot high weeds which resulted in two tiny carrots as my total crop. 

I am hoping to do better this summer.  If the bag method is a success, the book suggests it will be very easy to use the same area next year to dig an actual patch and the ground will be prepared for the planting by this year’s bags.  

I will keep you posted on my new vegetable patch as it comes along.  I hope that I will have more than 2 tiny vegetables by mid summer. 

If this method is a success, it was super easy, relatively inexpensive and a breeze to care for.    

I’m keeping my non-green fingers crossed for a bounty in the bag.

Easiest Beginner Vegetable Patch Ever! 

Pick a sunny spot in your garden that gets full, hot, afternoon sun. I wish I had planted my veggies further away from the house because the bugs are attracted to the plants and they end up on my deck when I am reading a book and are a nuisance. 

Lay some old newspaper down on the grass or soil and spray with hose until wet. 

Place large bag of potting/vegetable/garden soil flat on top of wet newspaper so that it resembles a small bed.  Take scissors, knife or other sharp blade and cut the top off in one large, rectangular piece.  I left about an inch all around the edge so that the soil wouldn’t leak out too much.  

Take a screwdriver and stab holes about two inches apart throughout the bag. I punched a couple of dozen holes which went straight through the wet newspaper easily. 

Plant your vegetable plants right in the soil.  When choosing your plants read the label to ensure you don’t need more than about 12 inches between plants, otherwise you will only be able to plant one vegetable in the bag.  I purchased cantaloupe by mistake and was unable to plant it out because it needed too much space.   

Water your plants a little in the evening and a little in the morning if you can.  The bags do not dry out very easily and get very moist quickly.   

I am sure you could plant seeds right into the soil but I haven’t done this.   If anyone is up for the job I would love to hear about it!

If any veteran gardeners would like to put in their two cents, I'd love to hear about this too. Happy planting!

Karen Chadra March 22, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I'm so glad you commented on this, Claire, to remind us about this neat technique. Here is the follow up article written last year. It was a success! http://elmhurst.patch.com/articles/update-on-patchs-own-vegetable-patch
Renee Gough March 23, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Hi Claire! The bags were a success! I got good tomatoes mostly. I wouldn't say the broccoli or cauliflower produced great heads though but that could be true in any vegetable patch. If I could do it over I think I would stick with tomatoes. And really, you'd only need one bag. I can't believe we are thinking of gardening in Chicago in March!
Missneva May 01, 2013 at 03:08 AM
What a great idea. I am going to plant one this week-end. I think if I stack two I will have enough depth for the vegetables that need more root space. I'll properly have to drive in some sticks to anchor them. Or don't
Mary May 29, 2013 at 10:15 AM
I will be doing this in a couple of weeks. I am a not able to bend down easily so I plan on putting the bags of soil on a picnic table (raised bed). Do you think this will work?
Bonnie L. Spielman April 09, 2014 at 06:24 AM
I saw on another post where they placed the bags on a wire grid on sawhorses. I think I will try this method this year I planted last year in straw bales. It worked fairly well but the weather was such that nobodies tomatoes in this area ripened very well. I had lots but they just didn't ripen before they split. I think I will lay a wire grid on bricks on the deck. That will allow for drainage but still keep the grass cuttings out and I won't have to bend over so far.


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