No Assembly Required Raised Bed Kit: The Big Bag Bed Smart Pot Fabric Container Garden
This is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com.
Today, I’m working on a project here, and we’re building raised beds in this backyard
so that food can be grown and eaten on site. Growing your own fruit and your own greens
are the best ever, because you’re gonna get the best quality food that money can’t
buy, because you can choose what you’re gonna grown and hopefully you’re also gonna
grow organic so there’s no pesticides, mildewcides, herbicides, fungicides, or suicides in your
food, because those things are not any good. In any case, you can see some of the raised
beds that have been built below me. These happen to be some round raised beds. They’re
about eight inches tall. You gotta tuck them together, stake them in, and kinds of extra
hassle. Pound them in. hit my hand, kinda hurts. I mean, a lot of raised bed kits, you
gotta screw them together, takes power tools, takes all kinds of stuff, where if you want
to build them yourself, you gotta buy the wood, buy the braces, buy the screws, screw
it all together—it’s a real big hassle. Takes a lot of time, and if you’re one of
those people that like to sit on the couch watching football all day, you’re not gonna
get out the power drill and build your raised beds. But let me tell you what you can do.
I got in my hand here a fabric raised bed, and this is brought to you by people from
High Caliper Growing. So High Caliper Growing has been making these
smart pods for a long time. They pretty much invented the smart pod, or the fabric bag
technology, like back in the ‘80s or something like that. So they really know what they’re
doing and I’m really happy and glad that they’re now coming out with a big bed bag
product. And that’s this right here. This is a raised bed that requires zero effort
and zero labor to build. Really simple, really easy. In this video, we’re gonna show you
more about the big bag bed and build it, fill it up, and show you how easy it is to get
it ready to plant. So when you get the big bag bed, it’s gonna
come in a package just like this, and literally to build this, all you’re gonna do is fold
it out and blow it open. And there it is. You’re gonna hold up these sides here. And
this is the raised bed. All you need to do, simply, now is fill it up. So next let’s
go ahead and fill it up. So once you have your raised bed laid out
in the position you want it and where you want it, the next step it to fill it up. And
then once you fill it up, all the sides will pull taught and hold all the soil and all
the material you’re gonna be growing in. you know, if you gotta invest in something,
definitely invest in the soil or what you’re filling your raised bed with. It can cause
success or it can also cause failure. If you just use the soil here, this is a really sandy
soil, if we just dug this stuff up, put it in there, and tried to grow, it’s not gonna
do so well. So we have to use a rich mixture of different items to guarantee your success.
But before we start filling it up—and I just described the different things we’re
gonna use today—I’d like to talk more about this raised bed, because this is definitely
important. So this raised bed is a fabric raised bed,
made once again by High Caliper Growing, and they were the first people to come out with
the fabric pots. And this company is called Smart Pot—widely used in hydroponics and
growing in a bag. But this bag is unlike any other bag or raised bed that you’ll grow
in. because this is a fabric bag, and what this fabric bag allows, it allows air transfer
to go in between the bag. So what this means is that the roots are gonna get more oxygen
and oxygen is needed for life. Also what happens is, when the plants run into—like, next
to me, I have a plastic raised bed, or even wood, whatever—plant roots will run into
that and then they’ll just start to wrap around. And we’ve all see this, you know,
you take a plant out of the pot and you see. This is a root bound plant, and the roots
just run in circles and they’re not really productive anymore, they’re just all getting
wrapped up, wound up, and it’s not a good thing.
So what happens in the fabric raised bed is air pruning. So the roots will hit the edge,
and then they’ll basically divide and shoot out more roots, so you’re gonna have a much
healthier plant instead of being all bound up, like in a pot with the roots that are
just running around in circle. So that’s why I like it. The construction of this raised
bed’s very durable. It’s a reinforced stitching to make sure it’ll give you many
years of service. Without further ado, let’s go ahead and fill it up, go over what we’re
gonna fill it up with. So I like to use the Square Foot Gardening
Principles by Mel Bartholomew, you should check out that book if you haven’t already,
pick up a copy at Amazon or check it out at your local book store. So the square foot
gardening method is basically growing things in a raised bed, like we’re gonna do today,
but also controlling the soil and planting things at a closer ratio than normally would
be planted. And you can get away with that if you have good quality soil or good quality
growing mediums. So I am, once again, talking about growing in soil verses hydroponics which
is a whole other topic that I’m not gonna cover.
So the main mixture that Mel recommends is one third of the mixture peat moss or coco
core, which is basically coconut fiber or coconut husks. Then he recommends one third
vermiculites, and then he also recommends one third compost. So that’s—I have all
these here, and I like to look for OMRI certification. What that means is its Organic Material Review
Institute, and they certify all the products that can be used in organic agriculture. Now
just because something isn’t OMRI doesn’t mean I won’t use it, like this coconut core.
I mean, in my opinion, this would be OMRI, because this is literally ground up coconut
shells, or the husks, but maybe they just did pay for the certification. So I always
encourage you to look for the most natural products to use in your gardening and try
to move away from some of the things that aren’t so good and toxic.
So each of these items have a specifics purpose. Such as the vermiculite and the core, coconut
core, or the peat moss, is in the mixture to help retain water to that the roots aren’t
gonna dry out. Especially in a dry climate like I am here, that’s gonna be pretty critical.
So what we’re using today are, once again, the vermiculite. We have two cubic feet bag,
and this raised bed will hold about twelve and a half cubic feet of soil. So right here
we have the—this is called Pete’s Peat, but there’s many different brands on the
market, Comoro and different things. But they come in a little block, and this, right here,
is basically the same thing as a big three cubic feet of peat moss. But instead of using
peat moss, using the coconut core is a much better alternative in my opinion. The peat
moss comes from the peat bogs, and they’re up somewhere in Canada, and they harvest the
peat bogs and the peat took thousands of years to create all these peat bogs and we’re
depleting them and taking them away and pretty soon there may be no more peat bogs.
But with the coconut, one coconut tree can produce a hundred to a hundred and twenty
nuts—coconuts—in one year. And the coconut is used for its water, which is a big rage
now. Get it at Whole Foods, really high in electrolytes, better than drinking any kind
of Gatorade and its natural, water filtered by the plant. Nothing better than that. Also
the coconut meat products and the yum coconut products, all kinds of coconut products, for
food—but then the remnants of that industry are all these shells in husks. So the husks
are turned into this, and this is actually better than peat in my opinion and has a good
water holding capacity. They’re a lot easier to deal with and to ship and a renewable resource.
So this small block equals three cubic feet of peat moss. So if we had this block—if
we had peat moss, it’d be the size of this bag or a little bit larger. So these are a
lot easier to transport. Now these come compressed. And you can see
here, it says “One bag plus water equals three cubic feet of coconut core.” So let’s
toss that one aside, and we’ll bring out this container here. So I was soaking this
guy, and I mean, this is three cubic feet of the coconut core with the water! This is
definitely good stuff. Highly recommend you use this stuff. So this is gonna go into the
big bad bed—let’s let the wind blow it open for me for a second, make sure I don’t
spill any of this valuable stuff out. There we go!
So we’re filling the big bag bed with the coconut core. Once again, once you get this
up around the edges, you could check it out how it easily stays up and upright. Really
good deal. Dump the rest of this coco peat out into the big bag bed. Alright, we got
all that stuff, let’s go ahead and ship that around the edges there. So you can see
now our bed is now staying upright like it should. We got all the coconut core in there.
Once again, that was three cubic feet of coconut core.
Next, we’re gonna at the vermiculite. This is a two cubic foot bag. So to keep it easy,
we’re just gonna dump the whole bag in there. And this vermiculite is certified asbestos
free, we’re gonna literally dump that in—and you’re gonna want to stand upwind of this
stuff. There is it. Alright, so there’s all the vermiculite. We’re gonna go ahead
and get a shovel and stir this together. Now, when using any tools in the big bag bed,
you’re gonna want to carefully use your tools and not puncture the bottom. So as you
can see, I’m using a flathead shovel here, so I’m not gonna puncture the bottom. So
we’re just mixing this up a little bit. So now we have a total of five cubic feet
inside the big bag bed by the creator of the smart pots.
So next, we’re gonna add the compost. The compost I got today is in the form of the
Kellogg’s garden soil, all natural. Once again, this is OMRI listed. The contents of
this are composted forest kumis compost, composted chick manure, worm castings, kelp meal, and
backwater with oyster and dolomite lime as PH adjusters. So whether you get this brand
or another brand of organic compost, a few things that you might want to look for are
the OMRI certification. You want it really high in compost. It shouldn’t be garden
soil, or sand, or anything else. And the addition of bat guano in the kelp I like a lot. You
can also add those in supplementary. Let’s go ahead and open up this bag. Man,
this is some nice, dark, rash compost. Now, the compost is here pretty much to feed the
plants. Those ones, for the most part, are there to provide the moisture levels that
the plants will need. Let’s go ahead and empty this guy in there. Alright! I love it.
Compost going into our big bag bed. Say that about five times—big bag bed, big bag bed,
big be—I can’t even do it. That’s one of them tongue twisters. Maybe they made it
like that. Alright, so let’s fill this up. So now we’re
up to eight cubic feet of materials in this big bag bed. Not a problem. As you saw, the
building of this was easy. Now filling is just takes a little bit of time. Let’s go
ahead and mix this up a little bit more. Okay, where’s the witch? I need the witches stick
to—[witch’s voice] “Alright, pretty! We’re gonna stir up the compost!”
Continuing on to mix up this material in the big bag bed, being very careful not to puncture
the sides. The sides are fairly durable, but they can be punctured. So, once again, take
your time mixing it up. Even better than the shovel, you could also use your hands. Probably
the best way. Maybe get your dog in there to dig through it, rat it up for ya.
We got all this mixed in here. That was about eight cubic feet of atrial for our big bag
bed. We got about four more cubic feet to go. So if I was keep the ratios as per Mel’s
recommendations in the square foot gardening book, I’d use four cubic feet of vermiculite,
four cubic feet of peat or coconut core—once again, I prefer the coconut core—four cubic
feet of the compost. So we put two cubic feet of the vermiculite, three cubic feet of the
core, and three cubic feet of the compost. So what I’m gonna do next is I’m gonna
add about three more cubic feet of the coconut core. That’ll be six. I’m put little bit
more coconut core in than the vermiculite. I like coconut core a bit more than the vermiculite.
So let’s go ahead and dump that in there. We’re gonna want to mix that in.
Oh, and before I forget, everybody that’s gardening, you guys gotta be using this stuff.
This stuff is called AZOMITE, or glacial rock dust. This is one brand, and another brand
I like to use is called Gaia Green—goes by the name of glacial rock dust. Now, the
glacial rock dust, what it is, it’s basically a supercharging trace mineral supplement for
all your plants that are gonna grow. Trace minerals are pretty much devoid in our topsoil’s
now because our top soils are devoid—and there’s a 193something senate document that
stated this, and some of the marketers use that to sell you guys mineral supplements
that you can take so that you can get your minerals. But, you know, in nature, the minerals
came from glacial rocks and rocks that ground down into fine particles, got into the earth
and the plants are used to getting these trace minerals. When the plants don’t have the
trace minerals, they are mineral deficient, they won’t grow as large, they’re not
gonna yield as much, and they’re not gonna taste as good. So using something like AZOMITE
or Gaia Green glacial rock dust deftly a good thing to do. I recommend that you use one
pound per square foot. So we’re gonna use about one pound per one square foot of growing
area in here. So let’s go ahead and open this up and add some of the rock dust.
Alright, there we go. So now that we got the rock dust in, the next thing is we’re gonna
add in more compost. If you need to go with something more than others, I’d recommend
always using more compost than the other things. In fact, in some case, I grow in all compost
with very little of this other stuff. So once again, got the organic compost here.
Got this bag open. I don’t know that we’re gonna need all of this bag, but we’re gonna
put a little bit in, and then we’re gonna mix some more. As you can see, the big bag
bed is now taking and holding shape. Time for some more mixing.
So I’m just about done mixing up this mixture. This is definitely a really good mixture.
Once again, don’t forget the rock dust. It’ll really supercharge your plants, they’re
gonna grow bigger than all your neighbors, they’re gonna taste better than your neighbors.
There’s no reason not to use it. And actually, it is really hard to burn your plants with
rock dust. I’ve actually growing sprouts in trays with like 50% compost ad 50% rock
dust. Those things will blow your mind away, they’re so delicious.
Let’s go ahead, flatten the rest of this out, let’s see if we’re all full. Now,
I recommend you don’t necessarily pat down or pack down the fabric raised be. You could
pack it down a little bit, but you don’t want it too compact. You don’t want to sit
there and tamp it all down or stand on it, because the plants’ roots grow in-between
the space of the soil. They don’t grow into the soil. That being said, you do want this
filed because you will find that over time it will settle. So as it does settle you wanna
make sure to bring new soil to bring the soil level up. Or actually, I’d probably add
more compost. Compost provides major nutrition for the plants. Then you won’t need to use
synthetic fertilizers and other things like that. If you have well, rich soil to begin
with. Nice dark soil like that compost we took out of the bag, like the rock dust minerals
and other things in the soil that should be there naturally.
But with modern agriculture, those things are getting lost because the top soils are
devoid, regular farms plant in soil like this and they just fertilize the hell out of it
to make it grow, and that’s not the way nature works. Nature works like a big forest.
There’s the big forest with frees, the canopy drops the leaves on the ground. Animals are
in the forest, they’re pooping. All that stuff decomposes into what? Compost! The new
trees grow and plants grow out of that rich compost or soil down in the forest. So that’s
what we really want to work towards, getting back to nature.
So I think that’s pretty much it. We got all this loaded up, we got a nice mixture
in here. And as you saw, the most amount of time was taken by me literally stirring and
mixing up the right mixture. Now that being said, many Lowes home improvement stores sell
Mel Bartholomew’s square foot gardening mixture. That’s already one third peat core,
one third vermiculite, and one third compost presaged. They can get expensive and doing
it your self’s a lot cheaper, but if you’re super lazy, get the big bag bed, get the premix
stuff at your local Lowes. It comes in two square foot bags, and you’re gonna probably
need about six bags or so. Dump it in, and look, we’re all ready to plant! So there’s
no other easier raised bed than the big bag bed.
Unfortunately, this is not yet available at the time I post this video. But depending
on when you’re watching it, it may be available. I saw this at the trade show. This is an industry
sample that they gave to me. I think it’s a wonderful product. And if they’d give
me more, I’d fill this whole backyard up with the big bag bed. Nothing easier. They
look nice, I know they’re gonna last, these are time proven technology. Should last many
years, worry free, and the other benefits, especially here in the desert, like the bed
next to me, that’s just open to the ground. Because this is a fabric cloth, it lets the
moisture go through at a reduced rate so I will also keep the plants more moist. And
especially here in the desert, where the air’s dry and there’s little to no humidity, that
can be really beneficial and play a big role in your success when growing.
So once again, this is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com. We’ll see you next time, and keep on growing!