How To Grow Potatoes In A Bag

 

I love the idea of growing more in less space, especially if I spend little to no money and glean greater benefits, and I love home grown potatoes. There’s something magical (childhood magical) about digging through the earth to find potato after potato and, like catching your own fish, they always taste better than anything you can get at the store. And better still, you don’t need the perfect raised bed or veggie plot, you can grow your own with what’s at hand — like that stack of grocery bags by your front door waiting to make the trip back to your car.

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 costs about $20 (but range from about $10 to $50 depending on quality and size).

Here’s how to grow potatoes in a bag:

  • Start with organic potato seed. Buy it at your nursery, mail order or get some from a friend growing potatoes. Just be sure it’s from disease free stock (so it’s generally not recommended to use old potatoes from your fridge).
  • Potato seed 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 days before planting to reduce 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 bit of green leaves showing each time.
  • Hill-up your potatoes repeatedly until your bag is filled to the top.
  • 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 easier.
  • To harvest, simply empty the contents of your bag, sort through and presto! Tonights dinner.

 

How To Grow Potatoes In A Bag

*I’m growing Yellow Finn potatoes next because a friend found them to be more productive, yielding a bigger crop. More bang for your buck is always good. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how my next crop turns out.

8 COMMENTS

  1. 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. 🙂

    • 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

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