Crane bags of big bags for container gardening (C. ASH)

Here is an interesting contribution of Charles ASH :

For large plants, such as trees, we grow them in disgarded “crane bags” (bags that are used for delivering sand, ballast etc to construction sites or homes). These bags are usually discarded, thrown away as rubbish (trash). Go to any construction site and they are more than pleased to give them to you, it saves them the trouble and expense of disposing of them. Now these bags, when full of compost, can be extremely heavy. So the answer is not to fill them totally with compost.

We break up old polystyrene plant containers, (again another by-product waste material of the horticultural industry), and place about a 9 to 12 inch layer in the bottom of the bag then fill the rest of the bag as high as required with the compost of choice. Polystyrene being a light weight material reduces dramatically the overall weight of the planted up crane bag. It also provides a drainage area, most necessary in any plant container.

Planting up by this method, and the crane bag usually having four handles, means that 2 to 4 strongesh men can lift and move the bag as required.

We have been using this method for about 6 years with great succes.

The only drawback could be the advert (the suppliers name) on the side of the bag. But who cares when you can again practically recycle?
Charle Ash


Excellent and very practical ideas.

The advert on the crane bags should not be a problem as we can always put a number of small containers, e.g. plastic bottles, in front of the big back in order to have growing plants hiding the advertisement.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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