Container gardening makes growing your own vegetables and flowers accessible to urbanites with small spaces, but it is also the frugal way to garden if you can’t build raised beds, test soil in your yard for contaminants, or afford to buys tons of compost to amend your garden’s soil.
You can lessen the cost of your container garden by choosing fabric containers and “pots.” Here are 3 lightweight fabric containers that I’ve used and recommend if you’re dealing with space limitations or need to create an instant garden on a rooftop, deck, patio-or even a parking lot!
1. Woolly Pockets
Wooly Pockets have been around a few years and have been used to make some stunning living wall installations. I primarily see them planted with ornamental plants, like in this example from the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago pictured above, but they can be planted with edibles too. If you have a small deck, patio, or porch and adding containers would eliminate usable space, grow vertically with a Woolly Pocket or two.
2. Smart Pots
I met one of the owners of the company that makes Smart Pots a couple of years ago at a tradeshow. At the time I was on a self-watering container garden kick and was skeptical I harvest enough of a vegetable crop from fabric containers to make it worthwhile for me. He gave me a Smart Pot to trial in my balcony garden and I was impressed by it. You can see my Smart Pot garden here.
These fabric pots come in various sizes ranging from 1 gallon to 400 gallon containers. The best thing about them is that they’re relatively inexpensive (starting at $3.50) when you compare them to traditional pots and planters, and they're very versatile. They’re been used to create rooftop farms and gardens on asphalt with great success.
3. Upcycle Your Own Fabric Planters
If you won’t be using them to grow food you can upcycle old jeans into containers. Cut the legs off and sew some homemade Woolly Pockets. The top portion of the jeans can be converted into a planter too.
Why Fabric Planters?
Planters made from lightweight fabric are ideal for small spaces where the dimensions of traditional pots make them inconvenient. If weight limits on rooftops, porches and decks is a concern fabric containers are your best option. Another benefit of fabric containers is that they can be used and moved by people with mobility issues making container gardening accessible to all.