Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Growing Potatoes in a Garbage Bag: An Experiment

I wanted to try growing potatoes this year, and one popular way to do this is to grow them in a growing bag. When I mentioned my plans to a friend of mine, she told me that she grew potatoes in heavy duty garbage bags last year, which is much cheaper, especially if you have a husband who saves clean yet used garbage bags.

Why grow potatoes in a bag rather than the ground, you ask? Well, for one, apparently potatoes don't like to get too wet (which can happen in my area, we have heavy clay soil). In additiona, wen you are growing potatoes and you want to increase your potato yield, you add soil to cover the lower branches of the plant every few weeks as the plant grows, and this is quite easy to do when you have sides of a bag to raise up as the season progresses. My friend tells me that the lower branches will then turn into roots and grow more potatoes!

Thirdly, potatoes can be easily damaged by a shovel when you go to dig them up. If you grow them in a bag, you can either dump the bag into a wheelbarrow to uncover the potatoes, or you can simply rip the bag open to get to your harvest.

In order to see if all of this fun stuff will actually happen, I went ahead and planted some potato seedlings this week.

Materials needed:

Large heavy duty black trash bag--if it has a few small holes already, even better
Potting soil--good for vegetables
Potato seedlings (don't use eating potatoes, instead use seed potatoes) I picked Red Potatoes

1. Place 8-10 inches of soil in the bottom of the trash bag. Poke plenty of small holes in the bottom and sides of the bag for drainage--I used the point of my heavy duty scissors. I made lots of holes. Scrunch or roll the sides of the bag down/out of the way.

2. Plant the potato seedlings approximately 4-6 inches under the soil line. Water well, and place in a sunny spot.

I hope this works for me! I'll report periodically througout the summer.

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