How to Grow Vegetables in a Bag


Growing fresh vegetables can be less labor intensive than you ever imagined by growing the plants in plastic bags. The advantages of growing vegetables in bags is they can be placed anywhere there is sufficient sunlight. This means vegetables can be grown on a small patio or tabletop. This is good news for city dwellers or people who may have limited physical ability. Nearly all types of vegetables grown in the ground can be grown in a bag if the correct procedures are followed.

Step 1

Choose small sized or bush varieties of vegetables to plant. For example, green beans and cucumber plants and seeds are available as bush types that take up a small amount of room or large vine varieties. Tomato plants are also available in bush types and are also known as patio tomatoes.

Step 2

Find a suitable bag for growing your vegetables. Two or three grocery bags placed inside of each other will be suitable for one plant for one growing season. Also, plastic garbage bags can be used for growing vegetables. There are polypropylene bags available for purchase that are specifically for growing and can last for several seasons. Choose a location for growing vegetables in bags that gets at least six hours of uninterrupted sunshine each day.

Step 3

Add potting soil to the bags as needed to fill them to the point where they are stabilized. Although the size of the bag depends on what you are growing, a bag the size of a typical grocery plastic bag should support one vegetable plant if it is filled with potting soil. Use newly purchased potting soil because it is usually sterile and does not contain disease pathogens or insect eggs usually found in garden soil. There are many types of potting soil to choose from. Some potting soil includes fertilizer and some is organic.

Step 4

Cut several slits into the bottom of the bags with a sharp knife to create drainage. Usually, three or four cuts about an inch long are sufficient. If using a larger bag, create more drainage openings. Don't make them too long or wide or the potting soil will flow out when you water the plant. Moisten the potting soil before adding plants or seed. Plant the seeds or vegetable plants into the moist potting soil. Keep the roots of the vegetable plants moist by watering the potting soil in the bags around the roots when the top 1 inch of soil dries out.

Step 5

Fertilize the vegetable plants once a week with a half strength water soluble fertilizer. Fertilize after you have given the vegetable plants a heavy application of water. This will prevent the nitrogen in the fertilizer from damaging the tiny feeder roots of the vegetable plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bags
  • Potting soil
  • Water soluble fertilizer
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Sharp knife


  • University of Illinois Extension: Growing Vegetables in Containers
  • Rodale: The Nickel Pincher: How to Grow Vegetables Anywhere
  • Gardening Tips 'n Ideas: How to Grow Vegies in Shopping Bags
Keywords: gardening bags, container gardening, growing vegetables

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.