Grow your own potatoes in a bag

It's very simple to grow your own potatoes. It doesn't take much effort and you don't need much space. You can even grow them in a bag!

Grow your own potatoes in a bag

Planting potatoes in a bag

Planting potatoes in a bag is so easy! I tried it for the first time last year and it worked so well, it even got the kids interested! Rummaging around in the earth, or tipping it out, to discover dozens of tasty looking spuds like hidden treasure, is very rewarding.

And growing them in a bag means you can do it anywhere. Even in the smallest of spaces.

Last year my potato bags were outside the back door in an alleyway that runs down the side of the house. This year I've taken the bags up to the allotment but you could put them almost anywhere.

I bought six seed potatoes. Three of an early variety (Sharpes Express) and three of a main crop variety (International Kidney). They've been chitting on the windowsill for several weeks. They've now developed a few shoots on each, so I asked my followers on twitter (many of whom have been growing potatoes for much longer than I have!) whether it was time to plant them.

See also: Chitting potatoes

Chitted potatoes 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
Potatoes successfully chitted - shoots developing nicely

Opinion was divided, as it's still quite chilly, so I hedged my bets. I've planted the earlies and will wait a bit longer before planting the main crops.

To plant them I filled the bottom of my bag about 6 inches (15cm) deep with compost. 

Planting potatoes in a bag 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
Potato bag with a layer of compost

GREEN FINGERS TIP: Unsurprisingly, the bigger your bag, the more potatoes you can plant in it. Too many and they won't get enough nutrition and won't grow as well. As a rough guide, my bag, when opened out, is 50cm across by 50cm tall and is big enough for 3 or 4 seed potatoes to develop reasonably good crops.  

Then I just popped the potatoes on top.

Planting potatoes in a bag 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
Potatoes planted! Cover them over and then wait!

I covered them with a layer of compost about 4 inches (10cm) deep. They need to be kept well watered so that they don't dry out, without being so wet they will rot. The compost is moist now so I'll start watering when the shoots appear above the compost in a few weeks. I'll repeat this whole process with the main crop potatoes in a separate bag in a couple of weeks.

It's important to keep "earthing up" potatoes. 

This simply means repeatedly covering up the shoots with more compost as they grow, encouraging more tubers to develop beneath the surface. Once they've flowered, it's time to dig down and see what you've got. 

The bags I'm using were a Christmas present. They are fabric rather than polythene. They should biodegrade when they come to the end of their life. I prefer this to using plastic, where possible. If my calculations are correct my bags hold 125 litres of compost, which is about  28 gallons. 

I get an average of about 80 minutes a week to grow fruit and vegetables on my allotment. If you've also got limited time to grow your own, then come and visit me regularly on the 80 Minute Allotment. Click here to Subscribe by Email and you'll get regular updates on how I use my time, in short sessions of one to two hours. I'll show you how growing your own can fit into a busy lifestyle and still produce regular harvests of fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. 

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