Growing potatoes may seem like one of the more challenging levels of gardening. But this guide to how to grow potatoes in grow bags will show you that it’s actually one of the easiest things you can try as a beginner gardener!
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How to grow potatoes in grow bags
Before diving into the process of how to grow potatoes in grow bags, it is worth saying that this solution will have a relatively low yield. That is perfect if you’re just getting started and want to experiment with potatoes, or with in-a-bag gardening methods, or if you just don’t have the space yet to devote to growing all the potatoes your heart desires.
Let’s be honest – that would be a lot of potatoes!
The valuable aspect of learning to grow potatoes in grow bags is that it teaches you a bit about the process of growing your own root vegetables, it can be a high yield vegetable, and you are also gaining experience in economical, small space gardening.
So how do I get started?
Source your potatoes
The first step is to acquire your seed potatoes. This can be done one of two ways. You can either buy seed potatoes from your local garden department or garden store, or you can start your own seed potatoes.
At my local store, it costs about $5 for about 1lb of seed potatoes. They just look like little dried potatoes in some hay in a ventilated bag. At the local grocery store, it costs about $5 for a 5lb bag of my favorite potato variety. So for me, it was a simple decision to choose to try to grow potatoes from regular store bought potatoes first.
Preparing the potato for planting
Preparing a regular potato to be used as a seed potato for planting is fairly easy. Leave it alone. Don’t do anything to it at all, except make sure that it is in a place with good airflow and that it remains dry. This prevents the potato from beginning to rot instead of beginning to grow.
Most potatoes will eventually begin to grow little “eyes” as they begin to progress. These eyes are the beginnings of sprouts and root systems. When the potato starts growing eyes, I know it is a good time to plant.
Planting seed potatoes in grow bags
There is a great variety for grow bags, especially ones made specifically for potatoes. We used a brand called Gardzen. They make a 10 gallon capacity bag. A 10 gallon bag is smaller or at least near the size of a 5 gallon bucket. I think I would have liked a bag with a smaller diameter and a greater depth, but so far these are working just fine.
Steps to Planting Potatoes in a Grow Bag
- Put a substantial layer of soil in the bottoms of each of your bags.
- Cut larger potatoes with multiple eyes into large chunks with a decent sized eye on each (leave smaller potatoes intact even if they have multiple eyes)
- Place potatoes on top of the soil in the bag. Depending on the size of the bag I would plant 3-5 seed potatoes per bag. Eyes should face upward and if you have a cut side that should face down.
- Cover the potatoes with another inch or two of soil and water thoroughly.
- As your plant grows, add more soil covering the stem as it grows until your bag is full of soil. The plant is able to grow additional roots and tubers out of the stem as it grows!
As you can see, planting potatoes is not a lot of work, at least not on this scale!
More about growing potatoes
You can typically expect 5-10 potatoes to grow from each plant, and in this case, each seed potato you plant should yield one new plant. So if you planted 3 seed potatoes per grow bag, you could have up to 30 potatoes growing in just one bag! At the minimum you could expect 15-20 potatoes per bag, and if you have multiple bags going at a time, your harvest instantly multiplies.
Keep in mind that potatoes need space to grow, so if they are crowded out in the bag, you may have very small potatoes grow. If you struggle with this, then consider planting one very verdant looking seed potato per bag, or thinning once the potato plant sprouts through the soil.
Remember to continue to add soil around the stem as the plant grows so that you have the potential for as many potato tubers as possible.
Harvesting Potatoes from a Grow Bag
You will know that it is time to harvest your potatoes when the plants wilt and begin to die.
Harvesting potatoes from a grow bag is easy and straightforward, but there are several ways to do it. You can either sift through the soil with your hands to dig out the potatoes, or you can lay out a tarp on the ground and dump all the soil out of the bag. The potatoes, of course, will come with it. This is probably the easiest way to be sure you’ve found all your potatoes. Soil can be returned to the grow bag if desired.
You can eat your potatoes the same day as you harvest them, but if you’re going to store them indoors, they should be left outside in the sunshine to “harden off” for a few days before bringing them indoors. This will help prevent them from going bad quickly or beginning to rot prematurely. Just be sure that if you leave them outside they’re in a safe place where they won’t be carried away or eaten by animals.
Overall, it is not difficult to learn how to grow potatoes in grow bags. Maintaining them is fairly simple too, and hopefully you’ll have a glorious pile of potatoes to show for it at the end of the season.