10 Uses for Fabric Planters

by Tusha Yakovleva

DSC09788A few years ago, we added fabric planters to our catalog as an easy and sustainable solution for gardeners growing in limited spaces. These fabric containers (made out of recycled water bottles) let water through, last for many seasons, and are machine washable, making them a great choice for growing food and flowers just about anywhere. But, a funny thing happened when they got introduced into our lives and to our customers: they very quickly became indespensible and universal garden and homestead helpers, far beyond their original purpose. Below are some of our favorite ways for their 'alternative' uses:

1. Durable haulers for wood. Whether moving scrap wood out of the garden, moving new lumber into the garden, or bringing firewood indoors, the fabric planters have proven to hold the weight and don't easily rip when loaded up with sharp sticks.

2. For compost and mulch. For small amounts of soil or soil amendments, fabric totes and their super-strong handles are ideal.

3. As tool bags. We like to pack our most commonly used tools into a root pouch so we just grab it at the beginning of a garden workday and be ready for any project.

4. Hose storage. The larger-sized circular pouches are the perfect shape for containing a coiled hose and eliminating having to untangle messy coils every spring.

5. Everything else storage. Clearly, we are big fans of fabric planters. They are make easy, reliable, storage for so many garden and home related items, like row cover, hardware, dirty much boots, or even root vegetables in a pantry (that need some air flow, which the pouches provide).

6. Harvest baskets. For light, foldable containers for your garden bounty, bring a root pouch! They don't let water through quickly, so aren't ideal for greens or other vegetables that need to be washed after a harvest, but great for everything else!

7. Root Guards. We first got to know these fabric planters as a solution for small gardens growing annual edibles and ornamentals. But, they also useful in semi-containing root growth of perennial plants. If you are looking to restrict the growth rate of a certain tree or shrub, consider lining the hole with a root pouch and then planting directly into the pouch. It will take the roots a few years at least to break through the fabric.

8. For tender perennials. In our climate, tender perennials such as rosemary rarely overwinter without a lot of care. Most gardeners dig up their herbs to store for the winter or just grow them in containers that they then bring inside in the fall. Root pouches allow the best of both worlds. Grow your tender perennials in a root pouch, then plant the whole pouch for the growing season and dig it up for warm winter storage.

9. Seed starters. The smallest sized fabric planters make for a nice seed starting pot. You can even fold the sides down if you are looking for a shallower container. The nice thing about using them for this purpose is, besides avoiding using extra plastic, is that the flexibility of the fabric makes it easy to remove the seedlings to transplant without disturbing the roots much.

10. As shopping totes. This use we learned from our customers! Many folks have shopped for seeds and garden tools at our markets have also stocked up on fabric planters to store the garden goodies they've found that day. They are useful, and dare we say - stylish, accessories for trips to the farmers' markets or seedling sales.