Grow Bags for Potatoes

I have always grown my potatoes in ground. This year I am grow two different varieties in bags. I bought these rather large green bags that have handles and a velcro trap door that allow the bags to easily empty when the potatoes are ready in the fall. Anyone try these? Do the bags cut down on the amount of potatoes you can grow? They hold 19 gallons of soil each. I will have some in ground as well, but I want to use that space for more raspberries!

1 Like

I haven’t used those bags, but I have a daughter up in the PNW area who grows hers in a bin and harvests huge amounts compared to the weight of potatoes she plants. She just drops one of the sides when ready to harvest.

1 Like

Muddy the bags looked irresistable as they are compact, have handles so you can try and move 19 gallons of wet soil holding potatoes (never mind that) I don’t plan on moving them but it adds grow space and is neat looking. I like the idea of your daughters harvest. Sounds good!

Ha ha! I just meant the concept was the same. So, you could have good results with your bag. You might even try layering with straw once the growing process gets underway. That still wouldn’t make it movable, but the upper potatoes are cleaner when harvested.

1 Like

What other creative uses have you guys come across with grow bags? I ordered a few dozen root pounch grow bags from A.M. Leonard and I’ll have many extras.

Mrg47,
If you have an opportunity give jerusalem artichokes a try. They produce well and make a nice sunflower like plant. They taste like an Irish potato but they are extremely healthy. Diabetics and dieters among others are not supposed to have potatoes. I have a friend that grew potatoes in half barrels and got enormous harvests. Another close friend used the straw method mentioned above and got tons of clean potatoes but it gets very snakey in a straw garden.

1 Like

This may be a mistake you won’t make because you have more potato experience. I tried my potatoes in bags because I have hard baked red Carolina clay and heavy tree roots and there’s just only so many beds I am willing to prepare in a season. I put them into 18 and 20 gallon bags rolled them down, and filled up from about a quarter of the bag as they grew to mound up. I used cheap bag soil mixed with peat. While I grew what I would consider a fun and delicious amount of potatoes, I had a real problem with excessive vigor. The vines got really, really long and tall. I staked them and headed them off and they just tried their best to look more like unproductive tomatoes more than potatoes. They also flat out baked in my Carolina muggy heat. So my suggestion is use absolute crap dirt and definitely don’t use a heavy feeding mix!

2 Likes

Mrs. Gibson it looks like we are experimenting together! I’m trying to grow seed potatoes in a 15-gallon grow bag this year. I’ve never gotten many potatoes in the past so I figured this was a low cost solution to try. I’m also not willing to give up any raised ed space to spuds because they are dirt cheap in the store. I’ve started to calculate the cost of vegetables per square foot and plant the ones that save me the most money at the grocery store.

4 Likes

Did you fertilize at all, MisterGuy? Or just rely on whatever was in the potting mix? I’m also in the Carolinas (just north of Charlotte), and I’ve had the best luck with potatoes when planting an early variety (usually Dark Red Norland) in late February under row covers. I’m still not getting the yields that I want, but it’s a work in progress. This year I wanted to try some varieties beyond what I could find at Tractor Supply and didn’t receive my seed potatoes until the second week of this month, so I’m hoping for the cooler than average spring that the El Nino forecasts have suggested for the southeast.

As to the topic at hand, I’ve experimented a little with growing potatoes in bags in previous years with modest results, but, because I had quite a few leftover seed potatoes this year, I decided to take the opportunity to try several varieties (two earlies, Red Gold and Satina, and two lates, German Butterball and Desiree) and two approaches to fertilization in an attempt to improve my harvest. I’m using six 15-gallon Root Pouches which I filled with 5-gallons of homemade bark-based potting mix with dry fertilizer added (two organic and four Miracle Gro Shake 'n Feed) at planting time. I plan to repeat that process two more times during the growing season, be sure to keep them very well watered, and look forward to seeing the results. I’ll definitely be interested to see how everyone else does – maybe we can share results so that we can identify what does and doesn’t work. Our differing climates might make that a little difficult, but who knows?

1 Like

I tend to fertilize the veggie portion of my garden pretty darn randomly with whatever I have left over from whatever I do intentionally. That year, they got water out of a fishpond with unknown nutrient content, over spray from seaweed and fish emulsions from the fruit trees around them, GardenTone mixed into the surface at the beginning of the year. I was worried about how often I needed to water them even considering how big the bags they were in, and was afraid of flushing too much nutrients, but visually, I over fertilized (at least with nitrogen sources) according to the leaves.

As an aside, do squirrels and voles eat potatoes? I’m a little concerned with how much churned dirt there is in my potato bed with nary a sprout coming up. I had some tubers that sprouted up in pots that I transplanted about four to five inches deep, with a couple inches of sprout above ground, but a frost killed those sprouts and I’m not seeing anything coming back. I stuck a couple grocery store chunks out there just in case and the rodents are really going a little nuts in that bed. Will they eat my seed potato chunks?

mrsg47, where did you buy your bags? I’m looking at growing potatoes in bags this year, but have been a little hesitant due to our dry summers. With all that aeration through the wall of the bag, not sure I can keep the soil moist enough. I found some bags at Gardener’s Supply, but I don’t think they have a velcro trap door.

Patty S.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArizonaGarden/permalink/963979953639965/

1 Like

Hate snakes!

1 Like

Patty, I think I bought them through Gardener’s Supply on line, or the gardening ‘Mega Store’. one or the other. They are dark green and great! The potatoes go in next week.

The one thing I learned about growing potatoes in ground is that they hate manure or any type of fertilizer. The older the soil and un-ammended, the bigger crops I had. I’m picking up my German Butterball potatoes tomorrow. For me they are much better than Yukon Gold! Patty, please try these!

Yup, they are on my potato list, mrsg47. Going to grow those as well as Yukon Gem as a trialing. And, Magic Molly.

1 Like

When I tried growing potatoes at my dad’s place in northern California, something, probably ground squirrels, chewed the tubers all up. I wonder how a half barrel covered with chicken wire would work?

Sounds good. Squirrels ate my beets that were growing in a large pot last summer. Wire will work!

We need snakes here to control rodents but we don’t like them rather we tolerate them. I heavily mulched the garden under a foot of hay for several years and stopped for that reason. One day I was picking cucumbers and it was a bumper crop and counted half a dozen snakes in my 8 foot or so vicinity. The mold in old hay gets in the lungs when working with a lot also. It sure makes a beautiful garden.

Voles definitely will, and I wouldn’t be surprised if squirrels did too.

1 Like