Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
I will be upfront about this, Architec Housewares reached out to us with information about their Homegrown Gourmet product line. I was immediately interested as one of their first lines read “It’s the first of its kind to offer home growers all the tools they need to grow, serve and preserve their own homegrown produce.” Right down my alley. We are all about trying things to help people grow some of their own food. They were kind enough to send us some of their products to try out.
I planted the Harvest Grow Bag and wanted to share my experience. Unfortunately it has been extremely hot the past few weeks here in Florida. Not the best time to start new plants. The aquaponic plants are struggling despite having a cooler root zone in the water. I figured we would try it any way and see what happens.
The Harvest Grow Bag is a bag made of a thick heavy breathable material with drainage holes. I used the larger Root Vegetable bad with a 24 inch diameter and 15 inch height. For me, it’s large size and depth makes it fall into the raised bed category of gardening with the advantage of folding it up and storing it somewhere when not in use during the off season. I placed the bag in the greenhouse where it will get lots of sun but will be protected from the onslaught of rain we get during the late afternoon thunderstorms that roll through our neck of the woods during the summer. I placed the bag over an area where the poured concrete was cut for the aquaponics pipes. The holes in the bag will allow for the excess water to flow out of the bag, over the rocks and into the soil below.
Filling this bag requres approximately 3.5 cubic feet of potting mix. That is nearly two large bags of potting soil. It’s flexible sides makes it a fun challenge to pour the heavy bags of potting soil into the Harvest Bag without spilling some on the ground. Perhaps an easier choice might be to use a scoop to place the initial soil into the bag. Push your initial soil around the perimeter of the bag. This will help hold the sides up as well as keep the bag in place when adding more soil. Also with nearly two bags of potting mix your Harvest Bag will become very heavy. It’s flexible sides and weight will make it difficult to move with out the help of a friend. The material seemed strong enough to hold while I tried lifting and shifting the bag. I am also curious to see what happens to the material as it ages in the sun.
After adding my second half bag (I didn’t have two full bags on hand) of soil to the bag, I leveled the surface. At this point the bag seemed very sturdy and held it’s shape well. If I had added 3 more inches of soil and filled it to about an inch from the top, I am pretty confident the bag will hold it’s own as far as containers go.
I had a few tomato starts left over from the aquaponics so I planted them in here. We are going to add a few small herbs on the sides to help round out this bag. I am excited to see how the plants will grow.
My mom has laid down the challenge with her tomato plants growing in a pot on her porch up North. This picture was take a few weeks ago and she tells me the plant has reached over 5 feet tall and she has harvested her first “crown” tomatoes. She credits Steamy Kitchen for inspiring her to grow something she likes to eat. Needless to say, I’m very proud of my mom. Those are some great looking tomatoes.
But watch out mom, I am using a secret weapon. It’s called Nature’s Soil Boost. The kind people of Architec Housewares sent along a jar of this to use with our Harvest Bag. It contains natural bacteria to help boost the soils ability to natural feed the plants. I am familiar with the use of bacteria in the aquaponics, but I have never seen some as a soil additive. In this case we used some to help water the plants in. I also added some rock dust to the potting mix for added trace minerals to really boost my chances.
So far I like the Harvest Bag. It’s a really nice container idea and offers great flexibility. Moving it can be challenging, so best to make sure it’s where you want it before filling and planting. We will need to see how it performs in the sun as far as breaking down goes, but it seems thick enough to get a least a few seasons of growth out of it.
As for the challenge with my mom…. I’ll just have to keep you posted.
If you get a chance check out Homegrown Gourmet’s Project Restore. It’s a great concept where part of the proceeds from your purchase go into providing supplies and tools to community establishments to grow healthy food for those in need. Check out the video below.
We are also hosting a giveaway for your very own Harvest Grow Bag here.
And please check out Homegrown Gourmet’s other products here.