Rice-Bag Gardening

Aloe vera plantsI read about using the plastic mesh bags that rice comes in for garden pots – a cheap, readily available material – somewhere online a year or so back, so I decided to give it a try.

What have I learned since then?

Plants seem to grow very well in rice bags. I’ve heard that it increases the amount of air in the soil, and hence to the roots, and increases drainage, all of which makes the plant happier. Yes, it’s true, I have to water my rice bag plants a little more frequently, but with plants like aloe veras that hate to stay wet, this is a beautiful solution.

However, there are two downsides.

One is that the rice bags deteriorate when wet, so a rice bag for a plant pot, in a humid hot tropical environment like Sri Lanka, will last for less than a year, sometimes less than six or eight months. Maybe a little more, depending on the plant, but not much more. Then the bag starts dropping bits and pieces of itself, develops small holes which grow into larger holes, and eventually, soil starts spilling out. Unless I’m doing something wrong. 😀

But, if you know this walking in, and you regularly get new rice bags because rice is a large part of your household’s diet, then no problem. Just deal with it and move on. 🙂

Second is that the pups that my aloe vera plants put out have a greater tendency to circle the rice bag a bit more before emerging from the top of the soil. Or they emerge from the soil three or six inches down from the top of the rice bag and are a good six inches tall when they emerge the top soil line before you notice them. 🙂

The second one is not a real problem of course. Just, you know, amusing. 🙂 Because I’m easily amused…

Do you garden? Do you use rice bags or other non-standard materials for your plants? What are your experiences? If you blog about it, please provide a link. 🙂

Author: LMAshton

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