Potatoes

When You’ve Got Potato Progress

I have been pleasantly surprised with my potato experiment. If you didn’t read about the planting process, I recommend starting with that post, you can check it out here.

My potatoes (both the kennebec and the sweet potatoes) have been growing FAST.

After planting my potatoes in bags, all I did was keep the soil moist, but not soaked, and leave them in full sun.

The Potato Timeline

I planted the sweet potato slips and the sprouted kennebec spuds on May 28.

A little over a week later, on June 6, the spuds started sprouting through the soil. The change was much more noticeable in the bags with spuds because the soil went from all plain dirt to speckled with sprouts, whereas the change wasn’t as perceptible for the sweet potato slips (but I imagine the growth was about the same.)

           

By June 10, the sprouts had put on a few inches of growth, with progress being about equal in the store bought bag vs. the grocery tote.

           

June 12, just two days later, they had grown even more.

           

My plan was to let them get to be about 6 inches, and then cover them with more dirt, to encourage them to continue growing vertically, and to create strong root systems (read: lots of potato potential!)

So, 2 weeks after planting my potatoes, it was time to add more dirt. I gently buried the plants from the last set of photos, leaving a couple of inches of leaves above the soil. You’ll likely bury some of the smaller, lower leaves when you do this, and that’s okay (and actually necessary.)

           

Just 4 days later, on June 16, the plants had shot up again!

I added dirt again on June 18th, and this time filled each bag to its capacity.

To note, the potato grow bags definitely have more space and are sturdier than my normal tote bags.

The tote bags aren’t quite as tall or wide, and they aren’t as sturdy (both of mine tore a bit when I adjusted their location). If you haven’t started growing yet, I have a hunch that the store bought tote is going to produce a higher yield. But, I will of course give a final recommendation once it’s time to harvest in the fall.

So now that the bags are filled to the brim with soil, I just let the potatoes grow and I wait until they’re ready to harvest. Although, I make no guarantees that I won’t do a little exploratory digging before then to see if there’s some progress. So stay tuned 🙂

3 Tips For Growing Potatoes In Bags

  1. Start with sides of bags rolled down, and unroll them as you add more soil.
  2. Once your plants are about 6 inches above the soil, bury the plants until just the top leaves stick out from the dirt. Repeat until the bags are full.
  3. Choose your spot well (a sunny, level place is best). Bags don’t have a solid form, so moving them disrupts the roots (I learned this by accidentally shocking one of my potato plants when I moved it.)

I’ve been getting lots of positive feedback from other homesteaders who have successfully harvested homegrown potatoes from bags, and others who use other small space solutions like trash cans, barrels, and raised beds.

Have you grown potatoes before? What method has worked best for you?

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4 Comments

  1. Carlyn,
    Is it too late in the 757 area? Are there different potatoes for different times? Where can you get starters? Sorry for so many questions. Thanks

    1. Hi Debra! Potatoes need between 90-120 days to grow (depending on the type). So that means you need to have that amount of days to allow the potatoes to grow before the first frost is expected. You can check historical frost dates for your area to get a feel for when the first frost in fall/winter may fall.

      I found sprouted potatoes at a local nursery, and sweet potato slips at southern states. I know you can also order them online.

      I hope that helps!

  2. I found Yukon Gold Slips at Blue Seal. Growing them along with some Red Onion Sets I got from the Same place in old horse water troughs. Planted them back in June and they are doing amazing.

    1. Awesome Joann! Troughs sound like a great option. I haven’t grown onions before, I need to add them to my list

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