I love the idea of growing more in less space. Especially if I spend little to no money and glean the benefits of homegrown vegetables, which is why I love this trick of growing potatoes in a bag.
And there’s something magical about digging through the earth to find potato after potato. It’s the best feeling. Plus they taste better when you grow them yourself!
Types of Bags for Growing
Bags designed for growing food and flowers have their advantages but so too do reusable grocery bags. They not only fulfill the same purpose, they have handles making them easy to move around and they cost about a buck compared to the average grow bag which range in cost due to size and quality.
If you don’t want to grow potatoes in a grocery bag, you can try these fabric pots instead. They’re carrying capacity and quantity is great for the price.
Steps for Growing Potatoes in a Bag
- Start with organic potato seed. Buy it at your nursery or from a seed catalog. Just be sure it’s from disease-free stock (it’s generally not recommended to use old potatoes from your fridge but I’ve been known to grow these too).
- Potato seeds are potatoes. The points where the eyes develop are actually the start of new plants.
- Cut seed potatoes into chunks with 2 to 3 eyes per piece. You can let these dry for a couple of days before planting to reduce the risk of rotting or chuck them straight in the soil to live dangerously (I usually choose the latter).
- Fill your grocery bag (no modifications required) with about 4 inches of soil and place your seed on top. Space them about 6 inches apart, planting 3 to 4 per bag. (*When growing potatoes in a bed or rows give them more room, planting them about 12 inches apart.)
- Cover your seed with 2 inches of soil.
- As your potatoes sprout and grow, continue adding soil. This is called “hilling-up”. When I hill-up potatoes I leave a few green leaves showing each time.
- Hill-up your potatoes repeatedly until your bag is filled to the top.
- Or! Skip the hilling process and simply add 2 or 3 layers of seed potatoes all at once. To do this, simply cover the lowest area of seed potatoes with about 4 to 6 inches of soil. Plant another set of seed potatoes like the last batch and so on, layering with soil as you go.
- When you’re done, you’ll end up with about 12 to 16 seed potatoes per bag depending on the size of the bag.
- Harvest when potato plants flower for new potatoes or, if you’d like mature potatoes, harvest when the tops are brown and dry. Either way, stop watering your potatoes 2 to 3 days before you plan to harvest so the soil can dry out, making harvesting and cleaning your potatoes easier.
- To harvest, simply empty the contents of your bag, sort through, and presto!
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How long from seed to harvest? Looking to start this in my apartment. I dont have much space, but I think this could be fun. If staying indoors with plenty of sunlight, will it matter when I plant?
It can take two to three months for potatoes to mature from seed to harvest. Timing depends on the variety you grow and the growing conditions. They should grow well with good sunlight. Good luck!
Using fabric grocery bags – so simple and genius! I’m using black fabric grow bags (20-lb) for my potatoes this year, but wish I had seen your post first… Have you had luck growing other veggies in them, too? I have about 10 tomato plants in grow bags as well.
Thank you! You could grow an entire garden in these! They would break down after a while and not look as good, but you’d definitely get a season out of them, which is awesome. The price is right and they’re great for people who are renting, have little storage space, etc. and aren’t interested in investing in containers. I’ve also found they last far longer than burlap… I did see someone successfully growing potatoes in a cardboard box -might have to try that. 🙂
do you need to put holes in the bottom of bag for drainage or little stones?
No, I haven’t added holes or stones for drainage when using bags like these. They generally breath well and have adequate drainage on their own. I simply chuck the soil in, plant and top with another layer of soil. You’ll find it’s incredibly easy. Have fun!
I love this idea. How often and how much do you water? Do you place the bag outside in full sun or can you grow these indoors? Thank you.
Thank you! I have mine growing in full sun or mostly full sun, depending on the time of year (the potatoes are in the same spot but the house blocks the sun a bit in the cooler months). You can try growing them indoors if you have a sunny, south facing window. (I always think it’s worth trying.) The amount of water I give them depends on how hot or windy it is which affects how quickly the soil dries out. So, sometimes every day and sometimes once a week. Test the soil with your finger a few inches down. If it’s dry they need water. However, I’ve found potatoes to be super hardy and not much bothers them, they always seem to grow and bounce back after changes in conditions. Good luck and please let me know how it goes!
You have inspired me to try this the next time we grow potatoes. This was a really nice presentation of a simple and pure gardening idea. Have Fun in the Garden!
Thanks, Paul! Please keep me posted. Would love to hear which variety you decide to plant and how they grow. 🙂