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Are Smart Pots All That? Let’s Find Out Together!

by Fern on February 25, 2010

in Contests

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Have you ever heard of Smart Pots? They’re soft-sided, fabric containers that are rigid enough to hold their shape, but still allow air to flow freely through the root system of the plant, encouraging a healthier root structure. Or so they say. Someone from Smart Pot contacted me about their product and was confident enough about the quality of these fabric pots to allow me to put them through a mini side-by-side comparison.

This should be a lot of fun, and I’m looking for an LOTB reader to help me out with testing…

The Smart Pot people were kind enough to send me several different sized Smart Pots, so I was thinking that I could raffle one off and then the winner could pot theirs up and check in with me from time to time to add their experience to my review. If you’d like to help me out, simply leave a comment with what you’d like to plant in a Smart Pot and I’ll select one commenter at random.

You don’t have to have your own blog to win a Smart Pot, though you’re welcome to post your thoughts on the Smart Pot on your own blog if you have one. All I require is that you actually plant something in your Smart Pot and that you’re willing to provide a few updates about your Smart Pot experience throughout the season. You can grow all sorts of different things in Smart Pots (and even through the sides!), depending on the size of pot you have.

I’m also looking for help from LOTB readers in deciding what to plant in my comparison pots. To be as scientific as possible (with an admittedly very tiny sample size), I’m going to plant one smart pot with edible plants, and another with flowers. Then I am going to plant plastic pots of similar size with the same edibles and flowers. I’ll report back periodically throughout the season with comparison photos and my thoughts on how the Smart Pots are working out.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting two polls with different edible and flower possibilities. If you have suggestions for what should be in the poll, leave a comment. Whatever gets the most votes is what I’ll plant in my Smart Pots. But be sure to leave a comment if you’d like to try out a Smart Pot. The cut off for entering the raffle is Saturday at 11:59pm California time.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

SMITH BITES February 25, 2010 at 6:09 am

I’m an avid gardener always looking for new ways to pot plants – would love to do a test run!

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Bethany Boulahanis February 25, 2010 at 6:22 am

I would LOVE to win a Smart Pot. If I did win, I would love to use it to grow potatoes for the first time! I looked on their site and saw that is one of the recommended uses, so I’d love to give that a go!

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melanie watts February 25, 2010 at 8:04 am

The pots sound interesting. I wonder if they leak. I would plant either basil or annual flowers in a smart pot if I were to win one.

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Joseph Tychonievich February 25, 2010 at 8:26 am

This is great Fern! I don’t really container garden, so I’ll not try and win one, but I’m so happy you are going to try them and a regular pot side-by-side! We need more of this in the blogging world!

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Elise February 25, 2010 at 8:52 am

Oh, I’d love to try one of these! I have so many containers, and I worry about the weight of them on my balcony. What would I try… Hmm… Well, I could try my fairy tale eggplants, or I could go for some pineapple sage (incredible smell, by the way…). If the size was right, I could even try my kiwi vines this year! I’ll be watching closely to see how they work out for you!

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Mary C. February 25, 2010 at 9:56 am

I’d like to help test the smart pots!

Since they’re supposed to be most beneficial to the root system…then the ultimate test would be to grow flower bulbs and root veggies no?

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Emily February 25, 2010 at 10:29 am

Tomatoes! And descriptions of them in haiku form. :)

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Kylee from Our Little Acre February 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I’d love to help you test these, Fern! I’d like to grow Argyranthemums in them. I had some gorgeous ones in the ground last summer and think they’d look great and probably do well in these.

This will be fun, watching your trial of them!

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Josh February 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I could be really cheesy and say I’ll plant ferns in them, but I’d love to try my peace lily in it. It’s an amazing plant and the flowers it produces are absolutely gorgeous. Either that, or a full herb garden (thyme, rosemary, sage, etc) all in one pot which will sit on the dining room table as a decoration until I need it.

Also, I’d love to see lavender added to the list, or clematis. Preferably lavender so I can learn how to grow it :)

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gardenmentor February 25, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Your photo showing a smart pot filled with strawberries brings to mind my strawberry pot filled with sempervivum. I’d like to give sedums and sempervivums a shot in a smart pot. Sure, they’ll grow just about anywhere, but can they completely cover a smart pot to look like a trailing mound of succulent? Please, let me find out :)

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MrBrownThumb February 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I’d be down for testing one of these out. I’m thinking an herb/edible flower garden would look pretty good in one of those.

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Fern February 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Melanie–What do you mean by “leak?” All pots leak. ;-)

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Deborah February 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Would love to try Cal Wonder Bell Peppers, my seed are just starting to sprout.

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Peggy February 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Pick me… Pick me… I live in Central Arizona. I would love to give it whirl and grow herbs.

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Garden Beet February 26, 2010 at 1:52 am

are these woolly pockets?

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Fern February 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Garden Beet–Check out the link to their website (or the photos). They’re soft-sided fabric pots. The fabric looks kind of like felt.

balconygarden February 26, 2010 at 8:19 am

I would like to try one of these out to grow Ginger, which I have been planning to try for the first time this year.

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Jennah February 26, 2010 at 9:26 am

ahhh, I do love a good review! I’ve had my eye on versions of these, and this seems cool that you can plant in the *sides*. I’m growing a ton of new veggies this year and I’m not sure about their sun needs in relation to what I have. I’d love to try some root vegetables like carrots and maybe some new herbs in here, so I can have nice deep soil with a bit of flexibility AND be able to move it if it needs different sun.

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Abigail February 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

I would like to try my lettuces and/or spinach in the smart pot, if it happens to arrive in the spring time.

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kelley February 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

My first thought was potatoes, if you have a big one… seems like it would make it a lot easier to add dirt through the season. For something smaller, a few varieties of peppers. I’m in NYC most of the year but upstate NY from May – October. The short growing season means that I’ve always bought plants for things like peppers and tomatoes, but this year I’m starting some seeds in the city and would love to give them the best possible environment.

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Eva February 26, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I’d love to try figs and strawberries in smart pots. I’ve seen them around town, and it seems like such a good idea.

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Bob February 26, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I love the pic with the strawberries -and what a great use! my berries are buried (in their plastic pots) for the winter.

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dan February 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm

i grew chard last year, still going in fact, in two smart pots in a small garden in my backyard. i have some salad tables basically, and a few containers. i bought 2 “potato bags” from gardeners supply–they’re the round smart pots. i filled them with organic potting mix, and put some worm castings in there at planting, and fertilized with seaweed emulsion every other week during the late summer, early fall. the chard produced _a lot_. I did cuttings off it right up into late december. i covered it with row cloth whenever frost might be a problem and it’s been covered now for about two months during some pretty low temps down into the teens. the chard is still looking okay. looks like it might come back…

they would probably do okay on a balcony, patio etc. the round one is heavy–I can manhandle it around, but the problem I had moving it, was since they’re soft sided, the soil is disturbed a little. you have to be careful moving them. good product though–I bought six more this year.

hope this helps–look forward to reading your test results.

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Kelly February 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

I’d love to try the Smart Pot. I’ve been curious about them for a long time. I think, depending on the size, I might try potatoes. Or perhaps strawberries.

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Brook February 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm

The Smart Pot looks interesting I will have to check it out.

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Karen July 10, 2010 at 7:03 am

I am growing potatoes and onions in smart pots. Both are growing well, but I am struggling a bit with watering. I find it hard to tell when the pots need water or feel like I am giving the plants too much.

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DonTee July 31, 2010 at 12:59 am

Hello Karen.

I started using Smart Pots for the first time, this year. In a way, it is hard to over-water plants in this pot, because excessive water will drain through the Smart Pot Fabric.. However, one tip might be for you to water the plants until the water drains through the fabric at the bottom. Then check the soil in 4 or 5 days, about an inch deep, with your finger. Unless you live in a hot arid area, your plants should be fine. Then check it again to 2 to 3 days with the notion of a thorough deep soak if necessary. I use a mild fertilizer based on plant needs every time I water. My eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and peppers are producing well. I live in a hot, but very humid area of Georgia. Savannah! It was over 100 degrees today. Today, the heat wilted my plants that are ground-based, but they bounce back as it cools. The Smart Pot plants never wilted, tilted, and otherwise shrink back because the water and roots are dispersed throughout the pot.

Try it on one or two plants as a test. You might be surprised as I.

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Fern July 31, 2010 at 3:45 pm

DonTee–That sounds like an awful lot of fertilizing. What’s the N-P-K of your fertilizer? Are you using it at full strength?

DonTee July 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Huh? A LOT of fertilizer?

Not at all Fern, most of it is compost tea that I brew myself, supplemented by Algoflash for Tomatoes 4-8-6, and seaweed solution.

Soon, I might have to throw out all my suggestions after moving to Palm Springs Ca. to help care for Mom. It is HOT-HOT, HOT-HOT in that desert valley. I’ve purchased 3 yards of capillary matting on which to set all my Smart Pots, and then dunk the end into a 5 gallon bucket…then keep it always full. Any ideas on this?

How did you add your photo to this blog?

DonTee

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Gary August 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I have been SmartPotting for one season now, with great success. I’ve been able to grow carrots better than ever, and, they are conveniently located on my front porch. I highly recommend them.

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