Component-related Questions

What are the benefits of a fabric pot instead of a plastic or ceramic one?

The sturdy yet breathable fabric of your garden pot has a few key benefits over traditional plastic or ceramic pots:

  • Our pot drains freely and provides more oxygen to root systems to encourage healthier plant growth.
  • The felt walls of the plant help “air-prune” the roots, preventing root circling that occurs in plastic or ceramic containers.
  • The additional air flow also keeps soil temperatures from getting too hot in the summer sun.
  • The durable yet lightweight construction will last for years, but also can be transported easily by its handles to new locations whenever necessary.

How does the Olla Watering System work?

The clay pots that come with your Fabric Garden Pot, known as Ollas (“Oy-yahs”), have been used for centuries as a “low-tech” way to carefully water plants and regulate soil moisture. After the clay pots are formed, they are kiln-dried at a lower temperature than normal, which leaves tiny holes in the clay called micro-pores. When the soil that surrounds the buried pot becomes dry, water is able to flow through the micro-pores of the pot walls and into the soil, so roots can make use of the moisture. The pots only release water when plant roots need it, which decreases water waste and keeps away soil pests!

Why doesn’t this product come with soil and plants?

The Self-Watering Fabric Garden Pot is meant as a “blank canvas” upon which gardeners can grow nearly anything their heart desires! We leave the plant and soil selection up to the individual gardener so they can grow whatever they’d like, while our container makes it easy and fuss-free. Your local gardening center will have a wide selection of your favorite herb and vegetable seedlings and potting soils to get you growing.

What kind of soil should I buy for my Garden Pot?

Plants will grow best in a potting mix formulated for container gardening that drains well. In addition, certain plants prefer slightly different potting mix ingredients to provide optimal nutrition. Consult your local garden center or nursery for specific recommendations for your plants.

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Growth and Care Questions

What types of plants can grow in the Fabric Garden Pot?

A large selection of herbs, leafy greens, vegetables, and flowers can be grown in the Fabric Garden Pot! The 5 gallon capacity of the planter provides plenty of growing space for nearly all herbs and leafy green varieties, as well as many popular vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, and more.

Plants not recommended for the Fabric Garden Pot include root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, radishes, etc.) and large-fruit varieties such as watermelons, squash, or pumpkins.

How many plants can I grow at one time?

We recommend transplanting a maximum of two herb or leafy green seedlings, or one larger vegetable seedling into the We know the Fabric Garden Pot may seem like it can fit a lot more than just 1 or 2 plants, but most plant varieties prefer having a lot of space for their roots to grow! When you provide adequate space and nutrients for plant roots to grow, the stems, leaves, and fruits that grow above ground will flourish.

Can I start my plants from seed instead of buying transplants?

Back to the Roots highly recommends transplanting pre-grown starter plants into your Garden Pot. To grow plants from seed in this container, you will need to follow separate instructions that apply to the specific seed variety you are planting. These can often be found on the purchased seed packet or online.

When growing plants from seed in the Fabric Garden Pot, the Olla Watering System will not function properly until after seeds have germinated and developed significant root structure. Water seeds directly for 4-6 weeks until roots have developed enough to make use of the watering system.

How do I select healthy seedlings from my local garden center?

It is best to consult the experts at your local garden center when selecting seedlings for your Fabric Garden Pot, but healthy seedlings usually have:

  • Strong, thick plant stems
  • Dark green leaves
  • Slightly damp (but not muddy) soil

And should not have:

  • Flower buds or blooms (it’s too early for this!)
  • Roots that have circled around the inner wall of the container (known as “bound roots”)

How much sun do my plants need?

After transplanting, most plant varieties will need fertilizer every 3–4 weeks as they grow, and possibly more during fruiting stages. Use a fertilizer that supplies the correct nutrients for your specific varieties of plants and apply as directed. Important - Do not add fertilizer to the water in your ollas, as it will not be released into the soil effectively. Instead, water your pot’s soil directly whenever you add fertilizer to most effectively provide nutrients to your plants.

How often should I fill up my watering system?

Add water to your Fabric Garden Pot when the ollas are nearing empty. Because plants will need different amounts of water based on their variety, maturity, and environmental conditions, filling frequency will vary. Begin by checking the olla water levels about 3 times per week, and adjust to more or less frequent based on the water levels observed. Note, The ollas will only release water when your plants need it, so there is no harm in filling them up even if they aren’t fully empty.

Why is the top of my soil dry, even though I’m watering through the Olla pots regularly?

Dry topsoil is very typical when using the Olla Watering System. Because the olla pots release moisture directly near the plant roots (that are deep under the surface), typically the top 2 inches of soil do not need much water. This actually helps limit unnecessary evaporation and keeps moisture-loving soil pests away!

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