Those of you who read my Testing Times post at the end of April may recall I'm trialling Crown's Growbag Frame in my garden, courtesy of Fuel My Blog. I'm using it as a support for some of my tomatoes and comparing it with my usual method of using large terracotta long tom pots plus canes.
The picture shows the situation a month ago. I've chosen it over today's because the tomato plants have grown so well, they're obscuring most of the frame. Click to enlarge the picture if you'd like a better look at the construction.
The frame was incredibly easy to put together: the lower horizontal rod is threaded through the growbag I'm using, which in turn forms the weight needed to support the rest of the structure. I prefer the straps used as plant supports - which are attached to the horizontals - over my usual bamboo canes as my plants seem to be happily using them without me having to tie them in.
You'll see the growbag is used on its side. This makes perfect sense as it gives a greater planting depth and removes the need to add a pot on top filled with extra growing media to get better results. Inside each hole I've 'planted' a 3" pot which I use for watering as it means I can get more down to where it's best utilised: around the roots. I rolled the growbag around to break up any lumps before planting. I can report that a month later these tomato plants are taller and much more healthier looking than their pot grown counterparts, though the latter have started to fruit.
So on the whole it's a big thumbs up for this product, particularly as I'll be able to take it apart and stow away in a much smaller space at the end of the tomato season. The only downsides I can see are its relatively expensive price (compared to 3 long tom pots + canes), though it does compare very favourably with other gadgets on the market designed for patio growing. There's also a dependency on using growbags which I'm a little uneasy about, especially as there's usually much more choice available in the larger 50 litre bags of growing media for the same price or cheaper.
However, I'll certainly be using this handy gadget in seasons to come and seeing whether I can adapt it for use with a bag of growing media instead.