Grow bags

I've tried grow bags several times in the past, and just don't seem to get it right. So far, all I've tried has been impatiens, because that's what I see in the beautiful catalog pictures. My biggest problem is in the watering of them. I've used different soil mixes, very light with lots of perlite or relatively heavy Miracle gro container mix with Osmacote and magic water crystals. No matter what I use, by the middle of the summer I have a hard baked mass which is nearly impervious to water. The plants don't grow well, not like they would in the ground. I've found the only way I can effectively water them is to immerse them in a rain barrel of water for a few hours. Which makes the flowers look pretty sad, but gets the job done. I want to try again this year, I would love to grow strawberries in some kind of hanging arrangement, but am discouraged by my past failures. So please tell me, someone who grows bountiful plants in grow bags, how do you do it, step by step, from filling the bag and planting the plants to ongoing care. -- Mr Gardener -- Zone 5 - On The Maine Coast

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