Bag o’ Soil and Manure Hack

Bag of manure with x's cut into it

Cut X’s in the bottom for drainage, but not so much the bag breaks. 

This is an experiment I’ve been wanting to try for years. Better for the spring and for one large or two cherry tomatoes, using a couple of bags of gardening material stacked on top of each other (potting soil on top, the “good stuff” underneath). NOTE: the bag of manure is COMPOSTED MANURE – it’s got an NPK of 1-1-1 so it shouldn’t burn the roots.


  • easy to set up
  • contained
  • saves water
  • 4-6+” of material for roots to grow in plus the ground below (depending on how thick the bags are)
Bag of manure with x's now on the bottom, cut the top away, leaving the sides intact.

Turn over the manure bag and position it. Cut around the top


  • Ugly…
  • expensive (in the long run)

If you were to set up a whole row of these, say a 4 ft. by 20 ft, it would cost you $880! The two bags cost all of $11 + seeds (had some left over so it was $0 for me).

Cut the holes in the top according to the spacing of the crop you’re going to grow in the bags. More for something like leaf lettuce (or just make slits instead), less for broccoli, bok choy, etc.

When you’ve harvested your crop, you can either plant again or incorporate it into the soil, recycling the plastic bags if at all possible (my mother-in-law’s transfer station is now accepting bags, but I’ll need to ask them if these are appropriate when the time comes).


It’s a quick way to smother weeds and extend your garden by a foot or two, takes five minutes to set up, great for a small kid’s garden or some last minute experimenting, but it’s not the way to go unless you’ve only got a small spot on the blacktop or you’re going to transplant the

Bag of top soil with x's cut into the bottom similar to the composted manure

Cut X’s into the bottom of the potting soil for drainage, stack with X’s facing DOWN on top of the open bag of composted manure.

items later.  That being said, we’ll see if I get a quick crop of lettuce before the frost.








Bag of potting soil with x's cut on the bottom and planting holes on the top

Place the potting soil with the X’s facing down onto the open bag of manure, cut holes into the top for planting

Posted in Container, Tangents, urban

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