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marijuana grow bags

Marijuana grow bags

So, which is the best, pots or bags?

Pots are solid containers made of a variety of materials including traditional plastic, ceramics, and fabric planter pots sometimes with holes in the bottom for drainage. They’re sturdy, give plenty of structure, and work well as a permanent and reusable type of growing setup.

It’s often overlooked, but there’s a large industry that focuses on making pots and bags for growing plants, specifically the cannabis industry has a ton of options for containers. When choosing which one to grow in, the benefits of each can get a bit confusing.

What’s the Difference?

It may seem like a silly thing to get hung up on, but the plant will spend its entire life inside of these containers and it really has a big effect on the growth and yield at the end of its flowering cycle.

Bags, on the other hand, are soft and conform to whatever is put into them. There are two main varieties, plastic and fabric, which are generally quite a bit cheaper than pots. In a one-off situation, where reusability doesn’t matter, bags are a very budget-friendly choice.

Marijuana grow bags

Sometimes drainage is less than ideal and additional holes need to be made at the bottom of the bags to aid in drainage. Additionally, grow bags may not be as durable as pots, lacking the structural strength that other more solid containers can provide. This can be especially true in heavy rain outdoors or in heavy-flow hydro systems. The larger bags can also be much more difficult to move because of the lack of sturdiness and the weaker fabric handles are prone to tearing with bags over 20 gallons. (Note: Fabric grow bags come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1-gallon to 200+ gallon bags for outdoor use.)

Plastic bags are a cheap and disposable option.

Huge fabric containers like this can grow large outdoor trees above ground.

Perhaps the biggest advantage, however, comes with fabric grow bags, which are more durable than plastic bags and much more breathable than plastic containers or bags. This is an especially important consideration as many new growers underestimate the importance of getting air—specifically, oxygen—to the root zone. While the green parts of the plants (above ground) breath in CO2, roots actually breath O2, which is integral to their growth and development. It is for this primary advantage that many commercial growers chose fabric grow bags, as the size of the root structure is directly proportional to the yield of the plant.

The Question: Do You Recommend Traditonal Pots Or Grow Bags?

There are many advantages of using bags as containers, including the fact that they are generally cheaper than pots—to the extent that they can be disposable with little monetary loss—though, they then have to be replaced, rather than being reused or recycled like pots can be.

First, let’s explain to our readers a little bit about bag culture. Bag culture can be defined simply as growing a plant out of a bag, the same way one would utilize a plant container or a pot. But bag culture can also be defined as a method for extending or expanding the volume of media available to a plant’s root structure. In the latter scenario, an already-potted plant would be placed inside or on top of a bag filled with new grow media. The original pot would have holes in the bottom or several slits made in it so that the roots can grow down and out of the container into the extended medium of the bag. Because of these aspects, container bags are a preferred method for many greenhouse and indoor growers looking to expand root zone volume.

Fabric pots are a top choice of growers, offering breathability and great drainage.

The Answer: The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Grow Bags

However, whereas bag culture can be an add-on in this way, this is not the only use for grow bags. Grow bags can be your initial, stand-alone container for individual plants or for multiple plant sites within a garden or hydroponic system.

Trying to figure out what type of container to use for your plants and medium? Well, you’re in luck! High Times Cultivation Editor Nico Escondido answers all of your grow questions in his weekly Nico’s Nuggets column, and today’s piece is all about traditional pots vs. grow bags.

Marijuana grow bags

Full sun is best! If you have a wide open location that receives full sun all summer and into fall, you’re in luck. We have changing sun patterns, with some shade from our house and trees to contend with. That is the beauty of putting the grow bags on dollies – we can move them around to receive the most sun possible as the seasons change.

*In the recipe above, when I mention the amendment amounts “per cubic foot of soil”, I mean the total combined volume including peat moss, compost, and aeration. Also note that all of these amendments are things we also use in the garden, and last many seasons!

I am here to hopefully take some of the mystery out of it for you! The methods we choose to use for growing cannabis here at home are pretty dang simple! Sure, there are some steps to follow and supplies to gather, but growing cannabis is not all that more complicated than growing high-quality organic food at home. Or at least that is how we approach it. All you need is rich healthy soil, a large container, and either cannabis seeds or started seedlings – called “clones”.

Neem meal enhances microbial activity, making your soil even more alive! It also strengthens root systems, and can help control unwanted nematode populations, fungus, and soil pathogens.

Water

I’m going to give you all two options below. One is a little more involved, which is crafting your own soil from scratch. This is what we do. The second option uses pre-made soil, and requires less ingredients and steps upfront.

After sprouting indoors, cannabis seedlings need strong bright light – such as that provided by a supplemental grow light. Unfortunately, a sunny window will not provide enough light, and the plants will get extra tall, weak, and leggy. Once our seeds pop indoors, we move the cannabis seedlings to our greenhouse for a few weeks before going fully outside. We also use lights for growing autoflowers in the off-season in the greenhouse. (See this article for more information about choosing and using grow lights.)

Provide support for the main stalk with a sturdy stake. As the plant gets larger and starts to put on bud weight, you may find the need to further support individual branches. This will depend on the strain. Some growers get crazy with their support and training systems! We start with a small stake for seedlings (shown above) and then swap it to a 5 or 6-foot tall stake as the plant matures.

THE PERFECT CANNABIS SOIL

If you checked out our post about how to build the perfect organic soil for raised beds, our methods for building the perfect cannabis soil isn’t all that different. We’re shooting for something that is rich, biologically active, full of micronutrients, and has an excellent balance between moisture retention and drainage. Reference that raised bed soil post if you want to dive deep into detail, but otherwise here is a quick-and-dirty for cannabis soil:

As the plant grows and the root ball gets larger, it will drink water faster and therefore need more, and more often. I will write a follow up post about watering and fertilizing (which often go hand-in-hand) throughout the growing season soon.