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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 15, 2015 10:47 AM CST
Boy, I'm late to the party on this. What's your opinion on Smart Pots? Any better than large rigid pots? One of the claims is the root pruning aspect due air-permeable material. I know Peaceful Valley sells them - does that mean they're approved for organic gardening? Sounds like drainage would be great but might that mean more watering? I'm really interested in the pros and cons.
Name: Mary K
Safety Harbor, FL (Zone 10a)
Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Region: Florida Tomato Heads Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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p1mkw
Jun 15, 2015 2:11 PM CST
This is my first year using the smart pots and I'm still on the fence. I think they do require more water than other containers and if you're just looking for a pot to grow something in, the plastic nursery pots are a lot cheaper. However, the earth-friendly smart pot won't add to the landfill problems. I really can't tell any difference in the way plants grow or produce in the smart pots. Unless you get the really large ones, there are no handles to move them around. One of the 'pros' is that if they're emptied in the fall, they'll fold or roll up for storage. Yes, drainage is good, but the plastic nursery pots I have drain well too. The Ace Hardware in my area carries the plastic pots and are very reasonable ... less than $1 for the smaller sizes (1 and 2 gallon), then slightly more for the larger sizes (up to 7 gallon). I've seen them (the Smart Pots) in some hydroponics stores, so you might check in your area if you want to see them before you buy. Worm's Way also carries them, but I realize Bloomington is quite a haul from Hobart for you.

I'll be interested in other people's take on these as well. Maybe I'm missing something, but right now I have no plans to purchase any more of them.
Mary K.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 15, 2015 4:30 PM CST
Oh, I'm guessing any purchase would be mail order for me as there aren't any forward-thinking nurseries close by. I've been recycling plastic pots for years so don't buy them. I usually use heavier terracotta or similar containers for veggies but DH wants to experiment with growing potatoes and I don't have the garden space for that. Thanks for your opinion!
Name: Linda
Bellevue, WA (Zone 8a)
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In2art
Jun 16, 2015 5:29 PM CST
I am growing Potatoes in 7 gallon smart pots (as recommended by Irish Eyes who I purchased the seed potatoes from). I have run into one problem so far...keeping them watered. I am afraid I may lose two pots worth. the size of the foliage on all of them is easily double the size of the pot.

I do like the notion of folding them up for storage, but if I do potatoes in them again, I will certainly use larger ones.

Update...I thought I had lost them, but they were actually "done" and the foliage died back. It was my first time growing
Potatoes. I'm on year 2 now....
[Last edited by In2art - May 19, 2016 8:10 AM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 16, 2015 5:50 PM CST
Thanks for that input! Personally, not having a large dedicated vegetable bed, I can't see growing tons of potatoes even for the two of us. But it would be fun trying. Of course, they may have to sit out on my driveway.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jun 16, 2015 6:09 PM CST
I use similar fabric pot, mine is Geopot, but I don't grow veggies in them, I was testing them for some of my orchids, narrow leaf ficus and dwarf eucomis. So far, all of them are going good actually. And I like that although the bottom is sealed, though not really sealed, it is porous enough to let the water drain and critters won't get through that bottom. For me, it is light and easy enough to move, I got the ones with handles, though the smallest one does not have handles. The only thing is it does not stand quite rigid, so I put some rocks at the bottom for some weight. I think they have other versions intended for veggie gardening that has a tray liner.
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
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ediblelandscapingsc
Jun 16, 2015 7:46 PM CST
In my opinion any fabric pot is better than a plastic pot. The fabric pots can be buried with the same root pruning qualities they have above ground and will use a lot less water than any pots above ground. Any plastic pots you burry will send roots out of the drainage holes and can make it hard to remove the plants later or damage your root system in the process. Annual vegetables and flowers are not so much a problem as trees, shrubs, and perennials, that can be a real pain once roots penetrate in the neighboring soil.
I'd recommend fabric pots to anyone interested in root pruning plants in ground. Conventional root pruning pots such as Air pots and root makers only work above ground and use a ton of water. Due to their high cost I wouldn't recommend any root pruning pot fabric or plastic for short term crops like potatoes or tomatoes when raised beds work so well.
­čî┐A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered­čî┐
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 17, 2015 8:17 AM CST
tarev - so the geopots offer more air to the roots? Is that a critical thing for orchids?
edible - My perception is that the fabric pots are pretty much for temporary use and it sounds like they would be useful for larger plants that are in a temporary location - not a final planting site. In that I don't have the space for a raised bed (which I'm guessing potatoes would definitely prefer), a smart pot or similar would be used only seasonally here and would have to sit above ground.
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
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Gymgirl
Jun 17, 2015 10:36 AM CST
I have SmartPots, and they work really well. Mine are 15 gallon. I've grown tomatoes, potatoes & cabbages in them. The larger volume of soil in these hold water really, well, and, they do not dry out as fast as smaller ones - just like with other containers. I do have several small (7 gallon?) SmartPots, and they'd drive me crazy with having to water every single day. I haven't planted anything in those...

I water my large(r) SmartPots once a week, just like all my other veggies. Maybe twice a week to get a transplant established. I love being able to just dump the whole thing to harvest potatoes, or to refresh the container mix...

The fabric helps a lot with root aeration, too. To date, I've not had a plant fail in a SmartPot.

All in all, I'd recommend them for a small space or container garden. I tip my hat to you.

P.S. There's a YouTube video that shows how to make your own, if you are so inclined.... Hurray!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 17, 2015 10:39 AM CST
Thanks for your opinion, Linda. With all of your rain, do you have any problem with the larger Smart Pots retaining too much water?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Jun 17, 2015 11:57 AM CST
Shadegardener said:tarev - so the geopots offer more air to the roots? Is that a critical thing for orchids?
edible - My perception is that the fabric pots are pretty much for temporary use and it sounds like they would be useful for larger plants that are in a temporary location - not a final planting site. In that I don't have the space for a raised bed (which I'm guessing potatoes would definitely prefer), a smart pot or similar would be used only seasonally here and would have to sit above ground.


Yes, it is important for orchid roots to have good air circulation at the root zone, especially for the epiphytes.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Jun 17, 2015 7:32 PM CST
I also use 15 gallon smart pots for growing potatoes, and occasionally leeks. The pots drain really well, so no worry about over-watering. I've been using some pots for at least 5 years...I empty the potting mix and store the pots in mu garage, but I'm also ina zone that gets very cold with snow.

I also love how easy it is to harvest potatoes from these. Also easy to dig inside and harvest some baby potatoes Smiling
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jun 18, 2015 8:17 AM CST
Good to know about moisture levels. I store most of my pots indoors over winter as well so that's not a stretch for me. I do like growing veggies in containers - much easier to take care of and I can grow more than garden space allows. Thanks for your opinion.

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