Planting Potatoes in Bags
Do you want to grow potatoes in your garden but you don't think you have room. The truth is, it is possible to grow potatoes in almost any sunny location - even on a deck or a porch - by using potato grow bags.
I, too, as you can see in the following picture, have limited garden space with only three 4' x 8' raised beds.
I found I can increase my yearly vegetable yield by using a few methods:
- Using containers and vegetable bags,
- Incorporating vegetables into flower beds,
- Intensive vegetable gardening,
- Starting plants indoors under grow lights,
- Stretch the growing season at the beginning and end by using mini hoop tunnels, cloches and cold frames.
Another way is to grow plants up vertical supports, however, I have not had success doing this because of animal problems - squirrels, birds, groundhogs, etc. As examples, squirrels enjoy eating the teensy-weensy cucumbers. Birds eat pea flowers. I tried bean towers and something (I believe deer) ate every leaf off the bean plants. So, I have to cover the top of most of my raised beds with framed chicken wire.
I can grow some plants in the grow bags and containers, i.e., potatoes, basil, dill and green peppers because the animals don't seem to like them.
Growing potatoes in potato grow bags are super simple, even kids can do it. No need for till beds or hill up the soil.
Our family has been avid gardeners and foragers for years. We love eating fresh produce and creating fun and unique outdoor projects for our yard. In the winter, we start hydroponic gardens indoors for fresh vegetables even in winter. On our Sustainable Gardening and Foraging page are tutorials.
Learn about growing potatoes in grow bags by watching our video or keep reading this post.
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growing potatoes in your own yard
ABOUT POTATO GROW BAGS
Commercial grow bags are strong weather-resistant bags and can be used year after year. Holes in the bottom of the bag allows excess water to drain away.
These bags can easily be folded and stored at the end of the season and they don't take up much space when storing.
WHEN TO PLANT SEED POTATOES
Most potatoes should be planted between mid-March to late April, however, they can be planted as early as February in a greenhouse, cold frame or mini polytunnel to protect them until 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date.
HOW TO GROW POTATOES IN A BAG
There are many schools of thought regarding seed potatoes. Some people say to purchase certified seed potatoes each year. This can be pricey. And think about it, years ago there was no such thing as certified studs.
So, each year I save the smaller potatoes I harvest to use as seed potatoes the following year.
WHAT YOU NEED:
how to plant the seed potatoes
To prepare the potato grow bag, fold down the top edge of the bag to form a cuff at the top.
With a trowel or shovel (or you can even just use your hands), fill the bottom of the bag with about four to six inches of compost or a good soil mixture.
Depending on the size of the bag, place five or six seed potatoes with eyes facing up on top of the soil. Small potatoes can be planted whole, but larger ones are usually cut into small pieces, with one or two “eyes” or stem buds.
Cover the potatoes with about 3” of soil. Situate the bag in full sun and water.
Small new potatoes can be harvested when vines start to flower or about eight to ten weeks after planting for varieties that don't flower. New potatoes are deliciously sweet straight from the garden because their sugar has not turned to starch, as it has in mature potatoes.
Full-sized potatoes take about 80 - 120 days to reach maturity.
ADDITIONAL TIPS ON GROWING POTATOES
Cover plants as they grow - As the plants grow, cover the shoots with more soil or mulch, like straw or leaves. In the autumn I bag my leaves and save them to use to mulch the potatoes. Also, unroll the bag as the plants grow and the soil or mulch level rises.
Water regularly - If rain is scarce, give plants 1 to 2 inches of water a week.
Watch for pests - Growing potatoes in bags are less susceptible to pests and diseases.
Save bags - At the end of the season after harvesting the potatoes, clean the bags by removing all soil and washing the bags.
Other uses for grow bags - Besides potatoes these bags can be used to plant many other vegetables like carrots, onions, radishes, etc.
New potatoes can be harvest as soon as the plants begin to flower, about 8 - 10 weeks after planting. The velcro flap on the side of the bag allows you to harvest potatoes from the bottom of the container without disturbing the rest of the plant. Only take what you need for immediate eating.
To harvest mature potatoes, allow the plants to die back naturally in early autumn. Then, turn the bag on its side and dump out the content. Dug through the soil and pull out the potatoes. SUPER EASY!
HOW TO STORE POTATOES
Allow potatoes to dry on top of the ground for a few hours in a shaded but warm and well-ventilated spot.
Gently brush off any large clumps of soil. Don't wash them.
Store in a cool, dark place with low humidity.
Never store potatoes in polythene bags because they will sweat, sprout early and/or rot. This tip also should be used on store-bought potatoes.
That's it! Follow these few steps and grow amazing, delicious homegrown potatoes this year.
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