Are Grow Bags Good for Low Desert Gardening?

“I live in the low desert of southern Arizona. The sun and heat are brutal in the summer, which is 6 months long. What are the pros and cons of using grow bag containers in this environment? Doesn’t the black fabric increase the heat in the root zone?” Jacqueline of Casa Grande, Arizona

Answer: I agree that black fabric grow bags would be a poor choice for low-desert gardening. The bags would heat up and lose water in a snap, even if filled with good soil that holds water. If you’re interested in gardening in containers, opt for very thick, light-colored ceramic pots. Light, reflective pottery, or stone, containers will help keep roots cool and hold water in. You might also consider creating raised beds or gardens made with hefty natural stone. Stone holds water very well and stays cool underneath–helping to protect plant roots. Using top-quality water-holding potting soil is also recommending. Both Black Gold Waterhold Cocoblend and Black Gold Natural & Organic Ultra Coir potting soils get top marks for water-holding ability.

If you are interested in vegetable gardening, I suggest that you read our blog about high desert vegetable gardening by Maureen Gilmer. She uses straw bales to protect her vegetables from the high desert heat and drying winds. The method works wonders for her.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Here some more of our blogs for western gardeners.

What Are the Best Hanging Basket Flowers For the High Desert?

5 Big, Beautiful Wildflowers for Dry Western Gardens

Are Grow Bags Good For Growing Vegetables?

“Are grow bags good for growing a vegetable garden and how long do they last?” Question from Erin of Kirkwood, Missouri

Answer: I have used grow bags and found that they are very good for vegetable growing. Grow bags are inexpensive, remain aerated, and provide a lot of space for plant growth. The life of each will depend on the manufacturer. Smart Pots is one of the best manufacturers of grow bags, and their products last from three to five years, according to their website. Grow bags will not last as long as a traditional raised bed, but they are reasonably priced and offer an easy way to test out raised bed gardening without the high cost. I recommend them

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist