Yes, you can use old pantyhose or garbage bags, fill with soilless mix and grow your garden in them. Here’s how.
OK, so it’s silly season in the greenhouse research area.
Use Old Pantyhose
Some researchers have taken old nylons (looks to be about that size anyway) filled them with compost and started growing in them.
Their results indicate that this indeed might be a good way to grow plants. They state that this might work in areas where there is no soil.
Ah yes. We’ve been doing this for years folks.
Use Green Garbage Bags
I used to grow tomato plants in green garbage bags back in the early ’80s because I couldn’t afford the fancy grow-bags.
Lay the bag on the ground, fill it with 6–8 shovels of soilless mix and away we’d go. After the crop was done, pick up the bag and old stems (carefully because it would be wet) and dump it into a compost pile for recycling onto the garden. Re-use the bags if they were OK (hey, they cost me a dime each!) :-). This was inexpensive gardening using what we had.
I’ve even taken bags of soilless mix (the 30-litre size) cut a hole in them and grow on the greenhouse floor rather than ground. This was rather more expensive than the old garbage bags but I wanted to see if it was workable. (it was).
Poke holes in the bottom of the plastic bag to allow the water to drain.
Real soil or potting soil in bags does compact so if you want to try this, stick to the peat-based soilless mixes.
Put the garbage bag in a funky container
Can you use straight compost as a growing media?
Yes, you can *if* your compost is fully composted.
If it is not (or you’re in doubt) then only use it at 10% of the total volume of the soil (in other words, 1 shovel of compost for every 9 shovels of a peat-based soilless mix).
Fully composted material is fine — partially composted material may contain too many salts and burn tender seedlings.
As always, if you’re not sure try growing some tomato seedlings as they’re the most sensitive plants in the home garden. If they grow well, you’re fine.
But yes, a researcher has just figured this out. Good to know. And if you do have lots of extra old nylons around, you might give them a try. The only issue is to ensure you have adequate soil, support, and water for your intended crop.