VEGETABLE GARDEN

How To Grow Potatoes In a Bag

How to grow potatoes in a bag.  The next time you have a potato that never made it to the dinner table, think about using it to grow more potatoes.  Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables that you can grow at home. 

If you are a beginner to vegetable gardening, then start with growing the humble potato. One potato plant will give you many potatoes in 3 months.

How to Grow Potatoes in a Bag

There are many different types of containers for growing potatoes at home.  One method is to grow potatoes in a bag. 

You can either buy grow bags designed for growing potatoes from online retailers or reuse an old sturdy shopping bag that is destined for the bin. 

Potatoes like to spread out and grow wherever they find space. Therefore when you are ready to harvest potatoes, growing them in a bag makes it easier to find them.

When to Plant Potatoes in the UK

There are essentially 3 types of potatoes, early crop, mid and late crop.  You guessed right, early crop potatoes are ready sooner than the mid and late potato varieties. 

Early crop potatoes

Red Duke of York, Maris Piper and Charlotte potatoes are examples of early crop potatoes. These are often ready 4 months after growing. 

In the UK they can be planted from late March onwards, ideally when the temperature has started to warm up and become steady.

Mid and late crop potatoes

Desiree and King Edward potatoes are good mid and late crop varieties. Maris Piper can also be grown as a mid to late crop potato.

These potato varieties go in the ground in late April and stay there until the end of the Summer, early Autumn.

How to Grow Potatoes at Home

When you are first starting out, you will not need to buy seeded potatoes to grow, unless you want a particular variety of potato. Simply use potatoes from the kitchen that you did not get around to cooking. 

Look for potatoes that have started to chit or sprout.  Chitting or sprouting is when shoots start to form on the potato surface.  Below are simple steps you should follow to plant your sprouted potatoes in a bag:

  1. Find potatoes that have started to sprout.  If you have none, keep some aside for a few days so that they can sprout. Alternatively, you can purchase chitted or seed potatoes for planting.
  2. Once you see the roots or sprouts in the potato, you know that they are ready for planting.  Place compost in the base of the bag.
  3. Find a sunny spot in the garden and place your bags there.
  4. Put the sprouted potato in the bag. If you are planning to grow more than 1 potato per bag, keep them approximately 20 cm apart. 
  5. Potatoes grow in layers. Therefore when growing them in the grow bag, cover the potato plant with compost about 5 inches high. 
  6. A few weeks later, you will see shoots and leaves popping up.  When you see that the leaves are 5 to 7 cm in height, cover the plant with more compost. 
  7. Keep layering the new shoots at least two or three times.  Then leave the plant to grow.  The potatoes will grow in the layers that you have formed. 
  8. Water the plant as needed throughout the summer.  Potatoes are not fussy growers, but do not over water them.  If you have a dry summer, water the potato plants every evening. In rainy environments they do not need to be watered.   

Soil Fertility for Growing Potatoes

You can follow the same steps above if you decide to grow potatoes in the ground instead of a bag.

Potatoes can grow in most soil types, but in order to get a good yield of potatoes, make sure the soil is fertile.  Since potatoes grow underground, they tend to absorb most of the nutrients from the soil. 

Therefore add a nutrient rich compost to your soil to give the potatoes an added boost.

Earthing the Potatoes

It can be tricky knowing when to dig the potatoes. However, depending on the type of potato you choose to grow and the size of potatoes you want, they should be ready in about 3 to 5 months. 

A common way to know when to dig up the potatoes is by watching the plant. The potato plant will turn yellow and the flowers will fall.  This is a good indication that the potatoes are ready.

Once dug, sift through the potatoes and look for those that are in good health. These will be potatoes that have not been eaten and have no holes.

Brush the soil off the potatoes and store them in a cardboard box or a kraft paper bag. As long as the potatoes are stored in a dark, cool and dry place, they should last for a few weeks.

The Environmental Benefits of Growing Potatoes

  1. Cooking with homegrown potatoes reduces your carbon footprint because you are no longer travelling to the store to buy them. 
  2. When you grow potatoes at home you are using natural ways to grow them, therefore your garden soil is free of chemicals and fertilisers.
  3. Did you know that uneaten fruit and vegetables produce greenhouse gases when they rot in landfills?  Therefore, by growing them instead of throwing them away, you are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  It may be a very tiny amount, but every little reduction in greenhouse gas emissions count.   
  4. Finally, if you end up harvesting more potatoes than you need, store them in a cool, dark place, they will last several weeks.  Alternatively, share them with neighbours, friends and family.  It is a great way to strike up a conversation about growing your own food. 

Related Article: How to Grow Garlic at Home

DIY Recipe Ideas for your Home Grown Potatoes

You can find lots of delicious potato recipes online, however, below are 2 easy and quick recipes from my kitchen that I’m sharing with you. 

Omelette Recipe with Potatoes

The recipe below is super-fast and serves 1 portion.

For this recipe you will need 1 grated potato, 2 finely sliced spring onions,  1 small diced tomato, 1 medium egg (beaten), cooking oil, ½ teaspoon hot chilli sauce, salt and black pepper for seasoning.

  1. Add the hot chilli sauce and whisk the egg. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat. 
  3. Add the grated potato and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the diced tomato and spring onions.  Sauté for another 2 minutes. 
  4. Pour the beaten egg in the pan, gently mix and season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Cook until the egg is fully done.
  6. Enjoy it with a piece of toast or on its own.

Masala Potato Topping on Naan

This is a dry potato curry that goes well when used as a topping on naan bread.  Serves 2-3 portions.

You will need:

Naan bread, 1 small naan per person

3 medium sized potatoes cut into small cubes, cooking oil, 2 diced tomatoes, 1 chopped green chilli, 2 finely sliced spring onions, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, grated cheese, salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Boil the potato cubes until they are soft. Drain the water and keep aside. 
  2. Heat the oil, sauté the diced tomatoes, green chilli and spring onions for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin seeds and sauté for another 30 seconds. 
  4. Add your potatoes, turmeric and seasoning. 
  5. Give the ingredients a good mix for a couple of minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 
  7. Spread the potato topping on each naan.
  8. Sprinkle the grated cheese.
  9. Place the naan in the oven and remove when the cheese has melted.
Grow Potatoes in a Bag

Finally

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