Why grow potatoes in a bag
The great thing about growing potatoes in a bag is that you can have a controlled area, making the conditions ideal for your spuds to thrive.
Kevin Parker is a senior horticulturist at The Greenery Garden and Home. He says using a bag could potentially lead to more potoates.
“If you plant seed potatoes in a standard vegetable patch that doesn't have a lot of depth of soil, then you won't get as many,” he says.
When it comes to harvesting, there's no need to go digging for your potatoes. They are right there in your bag where you left them.
How to grow potatoes in a bag
Luke Maitland is Horticulturist at the Robertson garden centre, Native Grace. He says you want to plant potatoes around August or September, once the weather starts warming up. Potatoes won't grow during the frost.
Potatoes love the sun. For best results, Luke says to place your potato bag open in a nice sunny spot.
Soil and fertiliser
Potatoes are hungry plants, so Luke recommends using a high compost-rich soil that drains well.
Luke says how often you water your potatoes depends on a few variables, like how many potatoes are in your bag and the type of bag you have used. A hessian bag will drain faster than a lined potato bag. And if you've got lots of potatoes, you'll need more water. He says, 2-3 times a week depending on the conditions.
But be careful not to overwater your potatoes, as they can rot.
Growing potatoes from potatoes
While you can go to the supermarket and purchase a potato to plant, it's not recommended.
Kevin and Luke say it's best to purchase a certified seed potato so they are disease-free.
Once you've got your seed potato, you'll notice it has a little 'eye'. Some potatoes will have multiple 'eyes', but this is where the potato will sprout from. Luke says you can cut your potato eyes into sections, and each of those will sprout, giving you more potatoes.
How many seed potatoes should you plant in a bag?
Luke says maybe five seed potatoes, depending on the bag size. "We might get around two kilos to three kilos per potato, so they grow quite well.
How to plant potatoes in a bag
Grab your bag, your soil and your seed potato.
Place your seed potato in the bag, with the 'eye' facing up. You want your shoots to grow up.
Lightly cover your potato seed with soil. Add a controlled-release fertiliser and then a layer of mulch.
As the shoots grow (around 5cm in height), unroll the bag and add more soil. Continue this process until the bag is full.
When the leaves look like they are starting to wilt, it's time to harvest your potatoes. This can happen around 12 to 20 weeks after planting.
How to harvest potatoes in a bag
Luke says you can tip your bag upside down and collect your potatoes.
Alternatively, some potato bags have a little window at the bottom so you can harvest potatoes as you go.
Just remember that smaller potatoes need to be eaten quickly. When exposed to light, they turn green and can become poisonous to eat.
The more mature, thicker-skinned spuds store better in a cool place away from sunlight.
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