This is now the 3rd season for the Grow Bags in my backyard. In early spring I amended the soil in the bags and a few had deteriorated to the point where they needed to be retired. In most cases the polyester became brittle and shredded so they must be replaced.
I removed some of the styrofoam that was in the soil mix. I felt that too much styrofoam made the bags drain too well and I thought adding compost would help the plants growth. You can see in the pictures how the shredding looks and how the bags look in their 3rd season. I think that folks should plan on replacing the bags as they wear, which could happen as soon as 1 season but surely after 3 seasons.
In New York City many public schools have very little planting area so the parents, teachers and administrators that want to create school gardens are looking to plant vertical gardens. Grow Bags are an ideal solution for schools. With a small investment in a grommet tool ($100-200), some grommets, zip ties and the bags which can be purchased or reused if they are saved after a delivery of sand or gravel, a school can create an inexpensive garden on little space. Most schools like community gardens also have fences and railings which are perfect for hanging Grow Bags.
My Grow Bags made it to Times Square as part of a model school garden display created by the Grow to Learn Program for a recycling exhibit on Earth Day. The garden was made from recycled lumber from Terracycle.
Grow Bags play a small part in the display but offer schools a possible way to garden on very little space. The fact that the bags need to be replaced regularly also offers the opportunity for future students to feel a sense of accomplishment as they rebuild the garden. Students can also decorate the bags. A school I am working with this spring is doing just that as a 6th grade art class made the bags and the students are decorating them. I haven't seen their artwork yet but will pass along some photos to you readers when I see their finished work.