Using growbags couldn’t be easier, here is how to grow potatoes in a bag. The great thing about potatoes is that they can be grown almost anywhere, even if space is
limited like in an urban setting. Reusable potato growbags are available and are ideal for
growing your own potatoes on a patio, balcony, greenhouse, polytunnel, or by the back
What You Need:
- Your choice of seed potatoes, (if it is your first time growing potatoes, choose an early
variety of seed potato, like Homeguard, Duke of York or Orla as they will be ready to harvest sooner than maincrop varieties and thus avoid the worst of the blight season.).
- One or more potato planters or growbags, also called potato tubs.
- A good multi-purpose compost, (or 60/40 mix of compost/topsoil).
- A potato fertilizer is optional but is recommended for a maximum yield.
Most potatoes should be planted between mid March to late April, however they can be planted as early as February in a greenhouse, polytunnel or conservatory and either grown in situ or moved outside after all danger of frost has passed.
Chit the potatoes to produce sturdy shoots, encouraging quicker establishment and better growth. Chitting means leaving the potatoes in an open egg box or similar for approx 4 weeks to allow them to sprout.
Place the potatoes with with the most ‘eyes’ facing upwards and leave them in a light, cool and frost free place. The eyes of a potato are the tiny buds in the skin where the new shoots come from.
Fill the planter to approximately 20cm with your multi-purpose compost or top soil/compost mix. Evenly spread 3 or 4 seed potatoes on top of the compost and cover with another 10cm of compost.
As the plants grow gently cover the shoots with more compost until the level is just below the top of the bag or planter. Remember to keep the compost moist but
not saturated, occasional heavy watering is better than regular light watering as the water needs to get down to the lower roots.
A potato feed with a high potash content will help increase the potato yield substantially, our orgainc potato fertilizer is perfect and gives you all the information you need on the pack. Don’t use feeds high in nitrogen as these will give excess leafy growth at the expense of the potato crop.
Potato blight can rear it’s ugly head from July on. Many traditional methods of controlling blight like Bordeaux mixture are no longer available on the market so either growing early varieties is recommended as above but there are also a range of blight resistant seed potatoes available like Sarpo Mira, Setanta or Orla.
Early varieties of potato should be harvested as they are needed because they don’t store very well. Maincrop varieties can remain in the bags until needed, store the bags indoors to avoid freezing on cold
Otherwise potatoes can be stored in hessian bags or in sand in a cool, frost free environment. They should be checked occasionally for signs of rot, and the affected tubers removed so as not to infect the other potatoes.