Let’s be honest, potatoes are one of those vegetables that children just ‘know’. It doesn’t really matter what age they are, potato whether in the guise of chips or mash potato is somewhat of a family staple.
Potatoes are also one of those vegetables that is great to grow in bags. This means that you won’t have to dig into the ground, which with potatoes you would need to dig pretty deep.
Growing them in bags, also means that the potatoes are at a great height for your little ones to be able to care for them. And not to mention that you can place them pretty much anywhere there is full sun! So you are probably dying to know how to get straight in and get growing these wonderful vegetables! We’ve covered off some of the common questions about growing potatoes in bags and also a handy guide on the steps to doing so. Happy growing!
What are the benefits of growing potatoes in potato bags?
Growing potatoes in bags is extremely easy. If there is one vegetable that you are looking to grow with your children this year, it is almost certainly the one of choice. Essentially, there are only a few steps to growing potatoes in your garden. Firstly you need to buy some seed potatoes, and then chit the potatoes and finally plant them in the containers. It is also a way to avoid the certain diseases that you might find in the soil. This can be devastating when your potatoes get a disease so containers is certainly one way to avoid it.
What bags should I use to grow potatoes?
Whilst you are able to grow potatoes in pretty much any container that has good drainage, there are purpose built potato bags that do the job wonderfully. Personally, I have always used these bags from Amazon. These bags are extremely good value and will stand the test of time. Also, as these are purpose built, they have a flap on the front of them that allows easy access to the vegetable when it is time to harvest. This is a great activity to do with the children as you can literally pull the potatoes out from the inside. Amazing!
How long does it take for potatoes to grow in bags?
I takes the same amount of time for potatoes to grow in the bags as the do in the ground. However, the one main benefit of them growing in bags is that they are contained and all of the vegetables are in one place ready for you to harvest with the little ones. It will very much depend on the type of potato that you are growing to how long they will be growing before you can harvest. You can find out more by reading our post on choosing the type of potato to grow. In short, first and second earlies are quicker than main crop potatoes. However, main crop potatoes will store longer than first and second early potatoes, which makes them better if you want to store them into winter.
Do potatoes in bags give the same yield as potatoes growing in the ground?
This is a hard question to answer as the conditions will play a big part in the yield that you are going to get. If you were to grow the potatoes in the ground, it would require a lot of digging to ensure that the potatoes have enough space to grow. The other downside to growing potatoes in the ground is that they require 45cm between each plant. This means, that unless you have a lot of space, it is going to be hard to get a crop that will be sufficient to store. In terms of the space require, growing them in potato bags, is going to give you a higher yield for the space that the bag takes up. With the bag that we recommend from Amazon, you can comfortably plant three potato plants. which will give you plenty if you have several bags. On average, you can expect around 21 potatoes per bag but this very much depends on the variety that you are growing.
How often should I water potatoes growing in bags?
This is certainly one of the most important things about growing potatoes in potato bags. The children will love helping out with this as potatoes grow so quickly that their progress is easy to see. In terms of how often to water, it very much depends on the environment that the potato is growing in. If the weather is unusually hot, then they may require watering twice a day. However, you want to make sure that they are not too wet, as it will rot the potatoes inside the bag. Too dry, and the plants will simply die. You will want to check them daily to see how much moisture is in the soil. This is another benefit with potato bags as it is easy to tell how much moisture is in the soil. The bags also have drainage holes which will help to prevent over watering if your little one decides to put in a whole watering can!
How do I plant potatoes in bags?
The all important task of planting potatoes. Believe me, this is not difficult in the slightest.
Step 1: Get in the equipment:
Whilst you won’t need much equipment to get going, you are going to need to get some basics in.
Compost: To grow potatoes, Multi Purpose compost that you would pick up from any garden centre will be completely fine to grow potatoes. To fill one potato bag, you are probably going to need around 50 litres of compost. This will cover the initial planting phase as well as the hilling up process.
Seed Potatoes: Seed potatoes are what you need to grow potatoes. You will need to decide what you are going to grow in terms of the crop. You can check out our guide here, to help you choose what you would like to grow.
Potato Bags: There are many potato bags out there that you can use but we would recommend these ones from Amazon. They are amazing value and tick all the boxes for what you are going to need to grow your own home grown potatoes.
Step 2: Chit the potatoes:
Chitting potatoes is an important part of getting the seed potatoes ready for planting. Essentially, this is where you put the seed potatoes in a container such as an egg box in a dry, cool, light position. This will help the potatoes sprout until they are ready for planting. You can find out more about chitting in our guide here.
Step 3: Getting the potato bags ready:
Other than getting them out of the packaging, there isn’t that much to do. However, you are going to want to make sure that they are in a sunny position where they are going to get around 8 hours of sunlight a day. We put all of the bags together as it helps with watering and understand how much they need. Having them in different positions will mean that each bag will need a different amount of water and you will find it hard to be consistent. You may also want to roll them down until the potato grows.
Step 4: Planting the potatoes:
The potatoes bags that we use, only need 3 seed potatoes. Any more, and you will be risking overcrowding which will have a detrimental effect on the crop that you are trying to grow. 3 plants are optimum and will generate a good crop by the end of the growing season. You want to plant the seed potatoes with the sprouts facing upwards, the plant will eventually come through when it starts to grow. As you can see from the picture, the potatoes are evenly spaced in the bag so that they have an equal amount of space to grow. You will also need to put them on a bed of around 3 inches of soil
Step 5: Cover them over with soil:
Once the seeds are in the bag, you will need to cover them with soil. When growing potatoes it is very important to ensure that they are not exposed to daylight. They should always be under the soil. You will want to add at least 6cm (couple of inches) of soil on top of the seed potatoes for the sprouts to start growing. The plants will then come through the soil. They will grow pretty quickly from this stage onwards.
Step 6: Hilling up:
This is also a very important stage of potato growth. In order to ensure that you get a good crop of potatoes, hilling up will ensure that there is enough soil in the bag for the potatoes underneath to carry on growing. Once the plant gets to around 6 inches about the ground, you need to carefully add soil to the bag to cover the plant that is growing underneath. Be careful not to disturb the plant too much or create any damage to the plant. You will need to repeat this process all the way up to the top of the bag. At this stage, you will then be able to leave the plant until harvest!
Getting the children involved in growing potatoes
As you can see, growing potatoes is actually quite simple. Children will be able to help along the way and as the chitting process is started indoors, it is great to get them involved in the growing of them before the weather might permit you to spend a great deal of time outdoors. Also, as the potato is a forgiving plant and will call most places its home, very little can go wrong.
Children can certainly get involved, in all of the stages as well as the harvest. And as most children enjoy eating potatoes, they will be able to understand exactly what process all potatoes have been through before they end up on the plate.
Happy potato growing!