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How to set up your Plug and Grow Upside Down Planter

Plug and Grow Bag Upside Down Planter – the Vertical garden

Lots of us love to garden, but some of us have a very limited amount of space. If you’ve been missing out on the pleasures of gardening because you live in an apartment, have a small yard or simply don’t have the time and energy to till up a large garden area, the Plug and Grow Bag Upside Down Planter is an ideal choice for you. This is also an easy way for non-gardeners to give their drab patio space a bit of eye-catching color.

This attractive, solidly constructed, fun-to-assemble hanging planter bag is made of durable, woven polycarbonate and contains enough planting holes to accommodate 10 plants.

In a test of this product, we found a few tips that should make assembly of your Plug and Grow Bag Upside Down Planter a bit easier.

  • First, after you’ve read through the assembly instructions, make sure you have all the parts and materials you’ll need. Besides the parts listed on the instruction sheet, you’ll also need a sturdy step ladder and a pair of channel-lock pliers – you’ll definitely need theses later.

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  • About an hour before you’re ready to start planting, gather up all the plants you wish to plant in your Plug and Grow Bag and soak them in a bio stimulant mix such as Great Big Plants liquid compost. Soaking the plants will prevent them from going into transplant shock. Soaking your plants prior to planting them (instead of adding the solution to the bag once you’ve planted the plants) will limit the weight of the potting soil during planting and make the Plug and Grow Bag much easier to move to its permanent location. Make sure you save your soaking mix when you are done. That way you can water the bag with it later.

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  • Keeping your instruction sheet on hand, begin the assembly as suggested. Again, soak the plant root balls, but don’t wet the soil until the bag is hanging in its permanent location. (See last bullet above.) Wet soil can get very heavy and make moving the bag extremely difficult.

  • You can approach the planting of your bag from two ways. To make planting the bag easier, you can find a low, but sturdy structure to hang it on (such as a sawhorse or workbench) until you’re ready to move the bag to its permanent location. Or, using the hooks supplied in the kit – or an even larger size – you can go ahead and hang your grow bag in its permanent location, using a longer section of rope or chain to hang it low enough for easy planting. If you intend to do this, see tips for installing the hanger (below and in the instruction sheet). Then, once your Plug and Grow Bag has been planted, you can shorten the rope or chain to a height that makes caring for your plants easier. Be sure to use sturdy hanging materials when installing your Plug and Grow Bag such as a strong nylon rope (rated for 75 lbs. or higher) or a suitably strong chain. Never use hooks smaller than those supplied as the Plug and Grow Bag can become quite heavy when filled with water.

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  • Buy a good quality bag of potting soil, preferably an organic mix, and add some amendments of your own to give your plants a little extra vigor. Do not fill your bags with a cheap potting soil or “top soil.” Cheaper potting soils or “top soils” are much heavier than potting soil and may hold extra water which could cause rot and increase the weight of your Plug and Grow Bag. You will need at least two cubic feet of soil for your Plug and Grow Bag.

  • When preparing the potting soil, mix in ½ cup of slow-release fertilizer or 1 cup of organic fertilizer, which is preferred. Also, adding a product such as Mycorrhizal Fungi can protect your plants from diseases as well as help them grow faster.

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  • If you want to add more than one plant type to your Plug and Grow Bag, here’s a tip: plant the bushy- compact-growing plants such as basil, begonias, coleus, primrose or other similar plants in the top holes and place trailing or large plants, such as moss rose, tomatoes or petunias in the bottom holes. That way the trailing plants will not grow down and smother your shorter, bushier plants at the bottom.

  • Even though the Plug and Grow Bag contains ten holes for planting, you do not have to plant every one of them. If there’s a side hole you want to leave empty, simply, don’t insert a clamshell plug into that hole. Then, as you’re planting the rest of the bag and filling with soil, just make sure the canvas flap is pushed down to seal that hole shut so that no soil falls out. If your plan is to leave the bottom hole unplanted, simply make sure the enclosed sponge is inserted into the bottom and covered with soil. The remaining holes can be planted normally.

  • The instructions recommend either filling the Plug and Grow Bag with soil and then adding the plugs or planting all planting plugs and then filling with soil, I found it easiest to use an alternating method. What seemed to work best was planting the plugs in the bottom row, along with the bottom hole if you plan to use it, and then filling the bag with soil to the next set of holes, then repeating the process. This planting method will prevent air pockets from forming below the plant plugs, a process that may dry out the soil and harm the plants later. Additionally, this method helps plugs from getting knocked out of alignment -- or out of the bag.

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    Here are a few handy tips for having a full planter all season long:

  • You can have a mixed-season planting by mixing cool-season with warm-season plants. Just plant the middle rows with cool or early season plants and plant the top and bottom rows with warm season plants. The middle plants will last until the summer when they begin to die off. If you place trailing warm-season plants in the top planting holes, they will start to cover the middle holes as they grow down.

  • Use 4-inch or smaller plants for all the planting holes. Anything larger than this won’t fit. When planting in the clamshells, remember, they do not have to close all the way adown around the plant’s root ball. Leaving a bit of space between the two sides of the clamshell will be fine.

  • If a plant in your Grow Bag has reached the end of its growing season, you can replant if you are careful not to disturb the roots of the other plants. Remember to soak the new plant extremely well before it is inserted into the bag.

  • Roughing up the roots of your plants before inserting them will prevent them from becoming root-bound later.

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  • Place the plant’s root ball all the way to the back of the plant plug, or place extra soil in the plug to ensure there is no air pocket behind the roots.

  • The plugs all have an angle. Make sure the plug is inserted at the downward angle. Placing them at an upward angle could cause the plants to fall out of the bag. Wrong way: p&g pic 7 Right way: p&g pic 8

  • Once the first row of plugs and the bottom plant, if applicable, are in the bag, push the potting soil up, under and around the potting soil to remove air pockets. Removing air pockets is essential to prevent drying around the plant’s roots. Don’t leave any air space, but be gentle.

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  • Remember to fill with soil to the next set of holes and then insert more plugs. Repeat until your bag is full. Bag half full, or for pessimists, half empty!

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  • Placing the top on is relatively easy. Just insert it between the wires, line up the grooves and the lid to the wires and glide it down to the bottom. Attaching the lid. It is best to place the bag where it receives a southern or eastern exposure around your porch or patio, or on a sturdy object in a sunny spot in the yard.

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  • Make sure you pre-drill your hole before inserting your screw hook. Always pre-drill the hole. Do not simply force it into the wood. This is not only very difficult, but could cause the hook to pop out later. Make sure the hook is inserted into solid wood of at least 2X4 size. Do not hang your Plug and Grow Bag from plywood, vinyl, sheetrock or other similar material.

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  • If you want greater flexibility in hanging your Plug and Grow Bag than the porch or an old clothes line allows, the GroPole makes an excellent alternative. The GroPole not only simplifies hanging and planting, but it also provides portability.

  • A foliar feeding product such as Terracycle Organic Liquid Plant Food or Multi-Purpose Organic Liquid Fertilizer is a great way to increase the flowering and growth of your plants without feeding them through the top of the bag. Just spray and go.

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    Features and functions

  • Because this product hangs in the air, it is more difficult for fire ants to find their way to the plants and pick them clean. The construction of the bag also makes it nearly impossible for fire ants to get in and build a nest. Even if they do find their way in, they will not likely last as it will be almost impossible for them to get out and find food.
  • The Plug and Grow Bag’s hanging feature makes is excellent for keeping away dogs, cats, insects and other critters.
  • Unless the wind blows some nasty seeds your way, there are virtually no weeds to worry about.
  • Diseases are less common because the bag keeps plants away from the ground.
  • When hanging in the sun, the bag warms up the soil, allowing for faster growth in the spring.
  • This handy hanging planter doesn’t take up space in your yard.
  • This planter is aesthetically pleasing and can be a welcome change of pace from Boston Ferns or other overused hanging basket plants.
  • Again, this is an excellent gardening solution for apartment-dwelling gardeners with limited or no yard space.

    Conclusion: In addition to the features and benefits listed above, we found the Plug and Grow Bag hanging planter to be well-designed and made from durable, high-quality materials, not easily damage – even by the author of this article, who has been known to man-handle a few gardening products from time to time. The Plug and Grow Bag would make an excellent gift for anyone and an aesthetically pleasing addition to any patio or sturdy yard structure.

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