Today was a lousy day, weather-wise, so it was a good day to finish a job that needed doing: I sewed together nineteen grow bags for my seed potatoes from weed stop fabric that I purchased from Amazon. I wasn't up for the hand-sewing marathon that it would be and I really wanted to get them done, so I dragged out my sewing machine, set it up at the dining room table and then started cutting weed stop fabric.
If you decide to do this, make sure you get a fabric that's woven, and not one that looks like fusible lining. The stuff they use under the pots at a real nursery is ideal, but the stuff I got from Amazon worked fine as well. It was three feet by one hundred feet, and I cut it in fifty-inch lengths, so it made a total of twenty-four grow bags. $55.86 seems like a lot of cash to outlay, but that works out to $2.33 a grow bag, and that's a whole lot less than what I was able to find them for online. This is just an example. The fabric I bought is also warranted for twenty-years, and while I think my use kind of voids that warranty, I'm reasonably certain that they'll last me a few years of repeated use. Only time will tell. But in the meantime, I have a reasonably inexpensive way to grow my potatoes, which can't be grown in my clay soil. Folks with limited soil but a lot of patio space may find them useful as well.
So after cutting them in three foot by fifty-inch lengths, I folded them in half with the cut edges together. You have to use nylon thread here; cotton will rot, and polyester isn't strong enough. To save thread, take a hint from power sewing and once one piece is sown, start the next without stopping to take the first out of the machine. Just keep following each piece after the one before it, as in the picture below. Don't forget to lock your stitches at the start and end of every seam though.
I separated by every five or so bags, and then once I was done I cut them all apart from each other. Once you have each piece sown in a tube, then you make four small darts at opposite corners. Start with your seam side and then the opposite side.
Then open the bottom and meet the two darts together to find where your other darts go.
The picture above shows the first two darts met together, and then the third dart at the left. The fourth is at the right but you can't see it.
So four darts all told, on opposite corners. If you want to see better instructions, see the original Instructables video here.
I'm not bothering to start mine in the soil like they do in the video. I'm starting my potatoes in compost made in the backyard, and I'll hill them up with chopped straw. I'd prefer to hill them up with dry leaves, but I don't have enough to even fill one bag, so chopped straw it is.
The beauty for me with these grow bags (apart from them being cheap) is that now I can grow potatoes wherever it looks like a good spot to do it. And now that I have twenty-four of them, I can plant potatoes whenever I need to. Most of them need to be started soon, so I'm glad to have these at the ready. Actually, having them ready is a load off my mind.
Now I can go work on other stuff that needs doing.