All The Tips On How To Grow Potatoes In A Bag

You can mash them, boil them, or put them in a stew. But, no matter the cooking technique, potatoes remain one of the world’s most popular vegetables. We’re pretty confident we had you going on a bit with that first line. However, you can relax; this article is all about helping fellow gardeners plant potatoes in a bag – from start to finish. 

Fresh potatoes in old sack on wooden table

Did you know that planting potatoes in bags is ideal for gardening enthusiasts who’re facing a lack of space? Grow bags are sturdy enough to grow spuds and safeguard them against diseases, pests, and other troubles like that. So, if you’re planning on adding to your vegetable garden list and harvesting potatoes this year – here’s what you’ll need to know. 

When to plant your potatoes

Generally, gardeners prefer to plant seed potatoes in March – so there can be harvesting throughout the summer and autumn months. However, you can also opt to grow new potatoes from August to September – the choice is yours. 

Ideally, potatoes are planted according to their harvest type, and of course, harvesting time can vary according to the potatoes’ type. Don’t worry, though; we’ve discussed your options in terms of varieties of potatoes below. Simply scroll down and discover which kind of potato will suit you best. 

Also, if you’re not aware of what seed potatoes are – allow us to explain. They aren’t like regular ones because they aren’t meant to be eaten. Instead, these are specifically grown to be replanted and to raise a crop of potatoes. They’re easily attainable at most garden centres

Growing potatoes in bags

If you’re thinking about why that’s a big deal when you have a kitchen full of sprouted spuds that are perfect for planting – you should know that they are secured against viruses

However, it’s best to allow your seed potatoes to sprout before you go placing them in the grow bag of choice. This will speed up the growing process and lead to quicker harvesting times, along with increasing yield. 

You can get yours to sprout by placing them in a light place that is cool and frost-free. This process is referred to as chitting. You can chit your seed potatoes by laying them out in seed trays or empty egg boxes (whichever you prefer) and leaving them alone to do their thing. 

You should remember that the ideal temperature for the chitting process is approximately 10 degrees Celsius. Once this is done, you’ll notice shoots sprout from one end of the tuber. When the chits measure about 25mm in length, your potato tubers are ready to be planted.

How to plant potatoes in bags step-by-step

Before we get on with our step-by-step action plan to help your plant grow bag potatoes, here’s a quick rundown of the items you’ll need before you get started. 

  1. An adequate number of bags (try a hessian sack if you’re not too keen on plastic bags)
  2. Multi-purpose compost
  3. Seed potatoes of choice 
  4. Good-quality potato fertiliser to help increase yield

Step 1

Start off your potato growing journey by choosing a sunny spot to set your growing bag(s) in place. It’s best to pick a spot that receives about 6 hours of sunlight (full sun) per day. You’re going to have to create drainage holes at the bottom of the bag to ensure that your plants don’t stay in excess moisture. 

Next, fill at least one-fourth of your potato grow bags with the compost mix (or potting mix). It’s also a good idea to roll the extra plastic at the top of the bag so you can have an easier time planting, watering, and harvesting. Also, don’t forget to add the fertiliser to the multipurpose compost and mix it well before adding it to the bag. 

Hands planting potatoes in a growing bag

Step 2

Generally, the more potatoes you place in a bag, the bigger your crop of potatoes will be. However, it’s best not to add more than a maximum of four seed tubers in your potato grow bags to ensure they have ample room to grow. 

Be sure to place the potatoes at an even distance from each other and with the sprouting shoots (chitted sprouts) facing upwards. Cover them with another layer of compost measuring about 10cm (called the earthing process) and water it thoroughly. You’ll want to add enough water to ensure the soil is dampened all the way to the end. And that’s pretty much all there is to planting your own potatoes

Step 3

Remember to water your potatoes regularly. The soil needs to be moist, not overrun with water or doggy. If your growing time includes the summer months, you’re going to have to be extra careful about maintaining soil dampness

Another essential step of the potato growing process is watching out for pests and diseases. Don’t forget to check under your plant’s leaves for potato beetles. If you do spot a few, you can get rid of them by hand. 

Potato blight can affect even the best potato variety – so be sure to keep a lookout for it. Blight doesn’t generally have a good prognosis, so in this case, precaution is definitely better than cure. To avoid blight altogether, you can try growing early varieties or invest in blight-resistant ones. 

What varieties can you grow?

There are countless varieties of potatoes you can grow at home, including sweet potatoes. But, just in case, here’s a quick rundown of some of the most famous or popular potato types:

  • Anya These have a unique nutty flavour and do just as well on a garden raised bed as they do inside a growing bag
  • Desiree These potatoes can be told apart quite easily, thanks to their red skin. They’re also main-crop potatoes – harvested through the August to September timeline. 
  • King Edward These potatoes have almost pale skin with pinkish eyes. They’re excellent for baking. Hands holding fresh potatoes

When is the right time to harvest them?

Planting potatoes is easy enough. But their growing season and harvest time depend mainly on the type of potatoes you’re planning on growing in a small space. Here’s how timing and potato varieties work:

  1. First Early Potatoes First earlies are thought of as new potatoes and generally ready to harvest by June. This makes them one of the quickest potato varieties. 
  2. Second Early Potatoes Second early potatoes, as the name suggests, take a little longer than firsties to become ready for harvest. 
  3. Maincrop varietiesThese varieties take the longest to grow and are typically harvested between July and September. 

How to properly store them

Once your tubers are grown, you can harvest potatoes by tipping over the growing bag in a wheelbarrow to keep the mess to a minimum. You’ll know the potatoes are ready when the leaves turn yellow and the stalk starts to wilt. 

After harvesting, however, you’ll need to store your vegetables properly to ensure they last you a good while. You can do this by placing your beautifully grown potatoes on a cardboard box (or something similar) and keeping the box in a cool, dry, and dark area. 

Potatoes in a bowl on a wooden table

We’ve come to the end of our guide and sincerely hope you’re going to have your very own harvest of lovely spuds next year. They are charmingly easy to grow, healthy, fulfilling, and, more importantly, easy to look after. So, go out there, pick your potato variety of choice, some grow bags, and you’re done!

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