How to build a bag garden

If you don’t have much space but want to grow your own fruit and ‘veg, try making one of these ‘bag gardens’. Made of a sack, they provide a self-contained garden.

You can use these bag gardens to grow several plants at once, such as strawberries and salads. They're ideal for a backyard or patio with not much space - or a school playground.

What you need

  • A sack (ideally made of hessian – available from greengrocers’ or garden centres. If using a plastic sack, pierce some holes in the bottom for drainage)
  • A large plastic drinks bottle (2 litres)
  • Small stones or gravel
  • Soil (a mix of compost, topsoil and manure, if possible)

How to make your bag garden

  1. Cut the top and bottom off the drinks bottle, turning it into a plastic tube.
  2. Place your sack in the spot outdoors where you want it to sit, then roll down the edges and add a layer of stones at the base, for drainage.
  3. Next, stand your plastic tube on top of this layer of stones, then fill the tube with stones as well.
  4. Put some soil in the bag around the outside of the tube and press it down slightly.
  5. Slide the tube up a bit higher and unroll the sides of the bag at little, then repeat steps three and four – taking care to keep it all upright – until the bag is full of soil, with a core of stones at the centre.
  6. If you’d like to give the bag extra support, hammer some wooden stakes around its inside edges.
  7. Now you need to cut some growing holes in the side of the bag. To mark where these should go, use chalk, charcoal or a thick pen to make four or five horizontal lines around the outside of the bag.
  8. Then, at staggered intervals along these lines, cut some slits (shaped like the number seven). These shouldn’t be exactly above each other, so that the plants have enough room to grow, and hang down. The holes should be just big enough to get your hand in.
  9. Finally, you can plant your seeds or seedlings into these holes and at the top of the bag.
  10. Give your garden a generous water straight away. Then you’ll need to water it regularly, pouring water in from above into the column of stones – from where it will seep out into the rest of the bag.

Thanks to Southend-on-Sea in Transition for the lovely photo.

Hands planting strawberry plant in bag / sack garden

No matter what anyone says, never put your children in good clothes, then go out and do some gardening!

Seeds, Soup and Sarnies participant