Growing potatoes in a bag is really easy and convenient, especially if you don't have a lot of space or you don't fancy digging up your lawn in favour of growing spuds. Even if you only have a small concrete yard or balcony, you can still easily grow some fresh potatoes. Here is a step by step guide to growing potatoes in a bag.
1. Buy Your Seed - You can buy your potato seed from loads of different places and they come in various amounts, so depending on how many bags you will be planting up is how many seeds you will need to buy. I usually put around four seeds per bag. When picking your seed bare in mind that there are different types of potato;
- Earlies - Are best if you are short of space, they can be lifted earlier in the year and are less prone to pests. Probably the easiest to grow and perfect if you want to grow 'new' potatoes. Plant from February to late May. They take around 10 weeks.
- Second Earlies - Again these are good if you want smaller potatoes. They take around 13 weeks. Plant from March to late May.
- Main Crop - These are your bigger potato, the ones you want for baking and roasting. Plant from March to mid May. They take around 20 weeks.
- Second Cropping Potatoes - These are grown if you want fresh spuds Christmas Day. Lift them in late Autumn and store in a dark place. Plant in August. They take around 11 weeks.
2. Chit Your Seeds - Once you have your seeds you will need to 'chit' them. You can do this buy spreading out your seed on a sunny window, conservatory or greenhouse. The aim is to encourage the seed to sprout, (just like when you forget about your spuds in the bottom of the cupboard and they sprout). Usually start chitting around January.
3. Fill Your Bag - You can buy special potato growing bags quite cheaply, or you can use old compost bags that are black inside. Turn the compost bag inside out so that the black is on the outside. Fill a third of the bag with compost, poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage and roll the top down half way. Avoid using mushroom compost to grow potatoes as the lime base promotes scab.
4. Plant Your Seed - I plant around four seeds per bag. Make sure the sprout is facing upwards and cover with about 6" of compost. Put them in a sunny position and after about 3 weeks you should notice a plant growing, once it reaches about 3" you should cover with compost. It wont kill the plant, it will continue to grow. Covering the green foliage will encourage the plant to focus on growing the potatoes.
5. Water - Water your bag so that the soil is damp but not soaking wet.
6. Earth Up - Keep adding extra soil to your bag as the foliage gets bigger. By May or June you can have a look beneath the soil and see if you have any potatoes. The more you earth up the better potato crop you will get.
7. Harvest - To harvest your spuds simply tip your bag out and you should have lots of fresh potatoes. Sometimes the potato foliage grows really tall (like below) and will need staking to keep tidy.
It really is as easy as it looks to grow potatoes in a bag!