You may not know this, but a long time ago, potatoes were sold in “potato bags” made of burlap. As times goes on, things change. And now? You can grow your potatoes in a bag!
Growing potatoes in a bag is easy, space efficient, reduces insect hassles, saves your back and is just plain fun. Growing in a bag is so easy; why not try more than just one variety? Not only are different varieties better for specific uses, but potatoes grow in different colors such as blue, red, yellow and white. You could grow a rainbow of potatoes! Western Garden Nursery can give you recommendations for the best varieties for our conditions.
Here’s how to do it
- Purchase your potatoes (narrowing down your choices is the hard part!)
- When you receive your potatoes, place each one in an egg carton cup. The end with little shoots or eyes should point upwards. This is “chitting.”
- Let the new shoots grow to approximately 1″ long.
- Cut the seed potato into smaller pieces with each piece having at least two eyes or buds.
- Let the cuts dry for 4 or 5 days before planting
- Place the bag in a location where it will receive full sunlight
- Fill the potato bag about 1/3 of the way with multipurpose compost
- Place two chitted potatoes on the surface
- Fill another 1/3 of the bag with compost
- Add two more chitted potatoes
- Fill the rest of the way with compost
- Water well, then water as needed
- Fertilize every other week with a balanced fertilizer
Harvest most potatoes two weeks after the leaves and stems begin to yellow and wither. However, if you are interested in smaller potatoes, dig down to see if the size is right. If not, just leave for another week or two. When you’re ready to harvest, cut along the side of the bag to release the compost and gather the potatoes. Distribute the compost throughout the garden or add to the compost pile.
- Cure your harvested potatoes in a cool dark place on newspaper for two weeks to allow the skin to harden. Brush off extra soil, but don’t wash them. Use those with bruises or broken skin, as they will not store well.
- Layer in a ventilated container such as a basket or crate with newspaper between each layer.
- Keep in cool dark location between 35-40°F to prevent sprouting. (A kitchen refrigerator is too cool. A basement or root cellar or a refrigerator set at 40°F is perfect.)
- Check the potatoes weekly and remove those beginning to decay.
By the way, did you know potatoes are gluten free and good for you? The stuff we put on potatoes creates the health concerns. Try roasting your potatoes with rosemary, or other fresh herbs, for a tasty and wholesome dish.