Our favorite discovery this season is “Smart Pot” raised bed gardening with “Big Bag Beds”, circular fabric containers that are the most plant-friendly, efficient, easy way to garden we’ve ever seen. Less weeding, less bending over, perfect drainage because excess water can seep out the bottom. Healthy plants out of reach of rabbits. Containers that sit on top of the ground, filled with healthy plants. At the end of the season dump the soil, toss them in the washer and dryer, and fold them up like a blanket until next year.
We tipped you off about this earlier this year, and in the meantime we’ve tried it out for ourselves. I can tell you now that “Smart Pots” are a revelation. Here’s what we did:
First, we filled a “Big Bag Mini” with one bag of Pine Magic mixed with a few cups of Holly Tone fertilizer and planted a blueberry bush. It took five minutes. Our happy blueberry bush is now loaded with fruit.
Next, we took the largest size “Big Bag Bed”, fifty inches across and a foot deep, and filled it with our own Garden Mix. We planted a six-pack of Brussels sprouts and twelve romaine lettuce, surrounded by a row of colorful pansies. You can see from the photo that we are now harvesting a bumper crop of salad greens, soon to be followed by succulent Brussels sprouts “on the tree”, ready to cut off the stalk right into the cooking pot. Food fit for a king.
We planted an Early Girl tomato plant in a fifteen-gallon Smart Pot, filling the pot with Sunshine Professional Potting Mix laced with Espoma Tomato Tone fertilizer. One tomato plant can easily fill a 20 gallon pot with roots, so our Early Girl might be a bit cramped, but she’s not complaining. She’s loaded with tomatoes and still blooming her heart out, with nary a weed or insect pest in sight.
We’ve never attempted to grow celery, but since we had nice celery plants we planted a six-pack of “Tango” celery in a “Big Bag Bed Jr.” just to try it. Voila! Six succulent celery bunches. They’re expanding so fast we can almost watch them grow. We planted pansies around the edge for color, but as it gets warmer and the pansies fade we’ll probably change them out for some marigolds to chase away the bugs.
Stephen and Marjorie like a little heat with their food, so Stephen planted a ten-gallon Smart Pot with a “Loco Rojo”, one of HGTV’s new hybrid hot peppers. Despite some cool nights it’s blooming nicely and promising a bumper crop of showy red hot peppers.
ऀNext, we planted another 15 gallon Smart Pot with one of our brand-new “Raspberry Shortcake” Brazelberry raspberry bushes. Again, we used Pine Magic and Holly Tone. Our raspberry bush is loaded with fruit; we just have to keep the birds away and we’ll have fresh raspberries and cream with less than five minutes work invested.
We’re awfully busy at GoodSeed Nursery right now so it’s all we can do to make sure our little raised bed garden get’s watered every day. Fortunately there isn’t a single weed, no bugs in sight, and all our plants are thriving with almost no attention from us. For those of you with huge row-crop vegetable gardens, we can’t hope to compare. But for our modest needs, our “raised beds without carpentry” are liberating and very, very satisfying. We’re already getting good food with minimal effort, and when frost comes, we’ll just toss the bag beds into our washing machine and fold them up until next year.
Sound too good to be true? Maybe so, but you can start growing vegetables today without waiting another minute for the muck in your garden to finally dry out. Try just one Smart Pot. Before your neighbor even gets his soggy garden tilled, you’ll have fresh vegetables on your table.
Steve Boehme and his wife Marjorie own GoodSeed Nursery & Landscape, located near Winchester, Ohio at 9736 Tri-County Highway. More information is available at www.goodseedfarm.com or call (937) 587-7021.