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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


How to Make an Easy Soil Bag Garden

Renee Valdes
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Difficulty: Beginner


Soil Bag Garden with Lettuce

Learn how to make an easy soil bag garden ideal for any size space, including balconies, decks and patios. In our soil bag garden, we’ll be growing lettuce and other leafy greens. You can also plant herbs in a soil bag garden.

Grow your soil bag garden organically as well using organic soil and edibles.

How to Make an Easy Soil Bag Garden 

Soil bag garden materials

Tools and Materials

Steps for Making a Soil Bag Garden

Make a soil bag garden

Step 1: Prepare Your Soil Bag for Planting

Once you know where you’ll place your easy soil bag garden, set it on top of the storage container lid. The lid will catch the drainage underneath. Having it underneath will prevent water stains on decks, balconies or patios.

To create drainage, lift one side of the soil bag and poke drainage holes using your garden scissors or snips.

With a utility knife, cut around the bag in a square about two to three inches from each edge. Leaving space on the sides will help to keep the soil from spilling out of the bag.

Planting a soil bag garden

Step 2: Arrange Your Plants

Determine how you want to arrange your plants, such as lettuces or an assortment of herbs. Use taller plants in the back. For our garden, we planted butter lettuces, ‘Prizm’ kale and ‘Miz America’ mustard greens, which need full sun.

If you prefer to plant seeds instead, know your frost date and growing season length and plant accordingly.

Read your plant tags or seed packets to know how to space your plants. 

Planting a soil bag garden

Step 3: Plant your Soil Bag Garden

Dig holes in your soil bag garden and start planting. Be sure to save any extra potting soil you dug out of the bag and set it aside so you can use it in other planters. For another version of this planter, see our small-space soil bag garden for herbs.

How to care for your Lettuces

Watering lettuce with a watering can

Lettuce and other leafy greens (and purples and reds) grow best in cooler temperatures during spring and fall in most regions. Temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and below 65 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal.

When your seedlings emerge in your soil bag garden, give your lettuce a boost with an organic fertilizer. Plan to apply fertilizer about once a month since leafy greens will likely be harvested again.

If the lettuces look like they’re wilting, add water because lettuce needs a steady supply.

When harvesting, it’s best to pick the lettuce before it matures for the best taste. Be sure to harvest lettuce in the early morning. Pick outer leaves on butter and romaine lettuces or cut the plant to about an inch above the soil surface. For crisphead lettuce, pick when the center is firm.

How to keep youR soil bag garden warm

Soil Bag Garden with Bibb Lettuce Seedlings Under a Storage Tote Cold Frame

If unexpected cold weather creeps into the weather forecast, keep your soil bag garden warm with a storage tote. With the lid underneath the bag, place the bin on top so it acts like a cold frame. Tuck in the sides and snap it closed on cold nights below 47 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a general rule, prop open the cold frame with a stick when day temperatures reach between 35 degrees to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can pull it off entirely if temperatures reach above 40 degrees.

Tip: Make sure to use a storage bin that’s big enough for your soil bag garden.

More Easy Gardening Ideas for Small Spaces

Grow Bag Garden

For more easy gardening ideas for small spaces, consider the perfect pairing to your soil bag garden. Use hanging basket planters ready-made with peppers or strawberries.

For another idea, consider planting a grow bag with a tomato plant on top.

Ours is planted using a Bloem strawberry planter grow bag with Big Boy tomatoes complemented by Siam Queen Thai basil by Vigoro spilling over the side openings. With these, you’ll have a tomato, basil and mozzerella caprese salad in no time.

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