How to grow tomatoes in a growing bag

Do it:

May, Jun

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Jul, Aug, Sep

Greenhouse tomatoes are often planted in grow bags, but outdoor crops can also be grown in this way too. A good alternative to a specialist grow bag is to try planting in a 60 or 75 litre sack of multi-purpose compost. This will provide your plants with a larger rooting area and stop them drying out in hot weather, which is better for the plants and means less watering for you.

Either plant the tomatoes direct in the compost or use a growing ring to increase the amount of compost the roots sit in, which is said to increase the amount of water and nutrients available to each plant and therefore increase crops.

You will need

  • 2 - 3 tomato plants
  • 60 or 75 litre bag of multi-purpose compost
  • Knife or scissors
  • Hand fork
  • Trowel

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Soak pots of young tomato plants in a tray of water for an hour to ensure the compost is fully moistened, which will help reduce root damage during transplanting. Lay the growing bag in a sunny position and shake it to dislodge any compacted compost inside. 

Cut a slot out of the bag to expose the compost for planting into. Use a hand fork to further dislodge compacted compost if necessary.

If planting direct in the compost, use a hand trowel to create a planting hole and gently knowck the plant out of its original pot. Place your tomato plant in the planting hole, replacing the compost and firming gently. Allow two plants for a 60 litre bag of compost,or three plants for a 75 litre bag. Water in well.

If using a growing ring, push this into the compost before planting the tomato plant. Then plant as you would otherwise, taking care to water well and firm the compost around the plant.

It's a good idea to grow companion plants - such as French marigold, Tagetes, to deter whitefly from attacking your plants. Place one plant into the planting hole next to the tomato.

One of the benefits of using a growing ring is that when you water the plant, water is directed straight to the roots and doesn't run off the surface of the compost. Make sure you water regularly and, once flowers appear, feed weekly with a high-potash fertiliser to increase your crop.

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