This year we found huge differences in quality when we tested growing bags. Our Best Buy scored 71%, while one scored just 46%. However, more shocking was the discovery that two of the bags contained a hormone weedkiller: Levington Original Gro-bag and Levington Tomorite Giant Tomato Planter.
The weedkiller probably got into the growing bag in green compost, which is made from councils’ green waste collections, and is a common ingredient in many peat-based and peat-free composts.
We first became aware of the problem when we spotted ‘nettling’ on some of our tomato plants. This is when the leaves and stems at the top of the plant curl in on themselves and become twisted.
Avoid the problem by choosing a Best Buy growing bag.
Tomatoes are particularly sensitive to hormone weedkillers. These target lawn weeds, but will also affect any other susceptible plant, by accelerating growth so much that the plant can’t take up enough nutrients and eventually dies. Green compost should be tested to make sure there is no weedkiller contamination.
A Levington spokesperson admitted checks had failed to pick up the problem: ‘We identified the batch code of the affected green compost, which is limited to one supplier of one of our sites. Analysis detected very low traces of herbicide residue in the affected batch of Levington Gro-Bags and Planters. We can confirm that this poses no risk to health, and any crops remain edible.’
If you think you had a bag that was affected, contact Levington on 01276 401390 to request a refund.
Growing bags are a great way of growing greenhouse and salad crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines. They’re low cost, simple to use and can be used anywhere from the greenhouse to the patio. We tested six bags. The Levington growing bags we tested have both been reformulated, so we haven’t included these results
- Bulrush Grow Bag
- Erin Gro’Bag
- Growise Multipurpose Grow Bag
- Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Vegetable and Fruit Planter
Find out which we thought was the best by looking at our Best Buy growing bags.
Growing-bag watering systems
We also tested four growing-bag watering systems. When you plant directly into a growing bag, it’s not always easy to judge whether you are watering too much or too little, and for the bags to dry out between watering. Watering systems take out much of the guesswork.
We tested these systems:
- Gardena Starter Set Terrace Basic
- Garland Big Drippa Watering Kit
- Greenhouse Sensations Click and Drip Grow Bag Watering Kit with Water Timer
- Hozelock Grow Bag Waterer
Discover which of these is our Best Buy growing-bag watering system