For the last couple of garden seasons I have experimented with planting potatoes in bags. Planting a harvest in bags is not a new concept. Europeans have been making use of this gardening technique for decades.
When a garden plot area is lacking, you can plant different vegetables and herbs in bags. All it takes is a little soil, preparing the bag for drainage and placing them in a sunny location. Even on a balcony or by the entrance door.
It’s economical and easy to do. And if the bag has handles, you can move them around easily to benefit from more sun exposure. At harvest time, simply dump over the bag and gather the crop. It is that easy.
There are a few videos on YouTube on planting potatoes in bags and after looking at a few, I gave it a try. Many gardeners are using reusable grocery bags similar to the ones shown, while others use burlap or black garden bags. While I did get a small crop using the grocery bags, it stands to reason that black cloth garden bags would be so much better, for several reasons:
- They are available in bigger format, so there’s more room for the harvest
- Fabric is breathable material, unlike grocery bags which are mostly plastic construction
- Garden bags are usually black – it draws the heat well
- Those with handles are more convenient – they are sold with or without handles
- They last more than one season. Typically with care, some cloth garden bags could last 4 or 5 growing seasons. They are washed, dried and stored between seasons.
- They are available in different sizes for growing herbs, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and more.
- Water does not pool or collect in these bags, but drains out through the fabric
Specially designed cloth garden bags vary quite a bit in price, but if you can get them for around $5 – $8 for a large one, that would be economical.
I’m certain that these garden bags would reap a better harvest than by using poly grocery bags as I’ve done in the past. So this year, I’ll be looking for some bags like the ones featured below.
Planting in bags is fairly easy. If you’re using the poly bags, you’ll need three drainage holes in the bottom, covered with newspaper, to keep the soil in the bag during growing. The cloth garden bags should not require holes for drainage.
Then fill the bag two-thirds with a good soil mix. Potatoes do like a sandier soil. Add a potato cut in three pieces spaced apart on the soil. Top up the bag with soil. This should ensure you get three plants per bag. Use more potatoes pieces if the bag is larger.
You should use potatoes with sprouts clearly visible and any kind of potato is fine. You don’t really need to use seed potatoes to grow them, but you do need to ensure that your potatoes will sprout. Some table potatoes have been sprayed to prevent sprouting.
Water as needed and place the bags in a sunny location. Potatoes grow in the bottom part of the bag; greenery grows on top. During growing, the green plant will flower and then die off completely. That’s the signal that the harvest is ready, which is usually early Fall, before frost hits.
Turn out/empty the bag in a preferred area, collect potatoes and place them to air dry, out of the sun. Then brush off the loose dirt and store them in a dry, dark and cool place, away from light and sun.
The last couple of years, I’ve harvested around five to ten pounds of potatoes from 2-3 bags. I believe the harvest would be much better using black garden bags, which is what I intend to do this year.
Planting in bags is a good way to eat healthy, home-grown veggies even if you have no garden area available.