Growing Potatoes in Bags

Anyone with a little space can grow potatoes in bags. All you need is some seed potatoes, a large bag of compost and to remember to water them regularly.

You don’t need a lot of space to start growing your own potatoes. In fact you don’t even need to have a potato tub. The only thing you need to succeed with growing potatoes is a large bag of compost.

First you need to get some seed potatoes. You can use the potatoes you purchase with your grocery shopping but these are not disease resistant, so it is much better to by proper seed potatoes from your local garden shop.

You will need to empty the bag of compost. When you do this make sure that you don’t rip the bag, as you will be using it to grow your potatoes. Cut the top open carefully and then empty the bag; try to empty the bag somewhere suitable, as you will need to store this compost until you need it later.

You then need to roll the top of the compost bag down. This can be tricky as some bags that hold compost are very thick. You don’t have to roll it all the way down, about half way is fine. Put a small layer of compost in the bottom of the bag, and place your seed potatoes on top. You won’t need a huge amount of these seed potatoes as only 2 or 3 will produce you a healthy crop in you bag, so use your best judgment.

Then cover the seed potatoes with a few inches of compost and water in. That is all you need to do to start growing your potatoes.

After a few days or a week (depending on the weather), you will see shoots coming up out of the compost. When this happens you need to cover them with more compost, and unroll the bag slightly.

You need to keep adding the compost every time you see the shoots, until you have filled the bag back up and you can fit no more compost in the bag. It is then time to leave the potatoes to grow.

The biggest problem you will face with any type of container gardening such as this, is letting the compost dry out. In a container it will dry out much quicker than if it was in the ground. So try to water your potatoes daily and keep a close eye on them. Potatoes need plenty of water to swell and grow in to healthy tubers.

The potato plants will grow and mature out of the top of the bag, sometimes they can get quite big, so make sure you can support them with something, or lean the bag against at wall. When the potato plants have finished flowering you can empty the bag and have lots of new (baby) potatoes for cooking. Or if you prefer larger potatoes you can leave them in the bag for a few weeks longer.

Once you have emptied the bag, you can spread the compost on your vegetable patch or on your flower board. But try to avoid using the same compost for more potatoes as this may cause a potato disease to spread.

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  1. Great tutorial, I grew my potatoes in a cardboard box this year. Same idea, you just tape up the “top” of the box as you need more height, then when ready to harvest, you break away the almost composted cardboard box.

  2. love this article it really has helped me understand exactly what to do and has given me confidence that my ideas will work. It has helped me understand exactly what I should be seeing and expecting as my potatoes grow. cant believe I am so enthusiastic about potatoes but hey I am so sick of shop bought ones, they are boring.cant wait to taste my own potato blight etc permiting.

  3. I love this article! I saw someone do it on a gardening programme and couldn’t remember the exact process. Simple enough – thanks!

  4. Loved this article–with the rising prices of gas etc. I wanted to plant plant potatoes this year for sure. I’ve never had enough room for potatoes–NOW I HAVE! I’m going to try a combination of bag inside a short cardboad box, this should give me the support and still hold more moisture than just a bag alone. It’ll also let me put the “bag in box” on a small dolly so it can be moved, allowing me to move it to safety when we get hurricanes and flooding. (I live by the water) Thanks for the information.

  5. This was a very nice and to the point article. I have been growing potatoes inside old tires and stacking them on top of each other as the plant grows and adding more soil as needed. But I ran out of tires :) Now I knwo a way to grow more due to this article.

    Thanks,

  6. I had one concern…when you grow potatoes in plastic garbage bags (or the like) where does the excess water go? It would seem to spoil and rot the potatoes due to too much water with no where to drain. How much water would you suggest daily/weekly? Also, has anyone used Miracle Grow growing agents? With what success?

  7. What do people think about growing in a plastic barrel?

  8. that is an awesome idea veg-eco you are so going to grow those potatoes. wooooo. your are also very cool and have a lot of coolness.

  9. someone please tell me when i can plant my potatoes in a pot? I have a shed, could i start them off early november or is it too late for 2008?

  10. I love this idea! Each year add a new vegetable to my garden. I think this year I will grow potatoes. Thanks for the tip!

  11. In the UK we have a store called Wilkinsons,they sell decent products at a reasonable price.I bought 3 potato planters for £4,they have now sold out,most other companies are selling them for £15!They also sell bags of seed potatoes 5 for £1,the amount needed for a planter.I have also bought a small greenhouse from them for £10 and can’t wait to get growing my own ‘veg’,I have limited myself to herbs in the past.

  12. I read on another site that you could perhaps use the woven plastic dog-cat-bird food bags to grow the potatoes. The bags are sturdy and seem like they would be appropriate. Would I need to make holes in the bottom??? The only holes in the bag are the ones made when they are sewn at each end.

  13. where can I find the answers to the comments ( some of them have some questions) please

  14. Moved into a new house and found that the previous occupant left an old cast iron bath in the garden. Could I use this to grow potatoes?

    I could start with about 4″ of compost, plant seed potatoes about 5 or 6″ apart and then cover with more soil and keep topping up until the top of the bath.

    Does this sound like it would work? I’d appreciate the advice as I’ve never grown spuds before.

  15. It’s possible to grow great spuds in a 100 ltr bag of compost. Just turn it onto its long side and cut out the plastic from the top side about 2-3 inches in from the edge. You can get six plants in easily by planting in two staggered rows of three tubers. Make some holes in the bottom for drainage.

    Quite a lot of DIY stores such as B&Q usually have some kind of three for the price of two deal where you end up only paying £5.00 or so a bag. Wilkinsons do good deals at £3.00 for a large bag of seed.

    You can grow about 30-40lb of potatoes with one bag.

  16. I’m looking for the answers to the “drainage” question above. Can anyone tell me if there need to be holes in the bottom of the potato bag? I would think that, when it storms, the bag would flood otherwise. I’d like to get this project started this weekend … help! :)

  17. I just planted mine today (my first attempt) in a bag of Eko Compost (1.5 c.f/42.5l size). Used a small stick and poked a few holes in the bottom. I think that will work just fine. The bags already have a few tiny holes so the compost can ‘breathe’ before being purchsed.

  18. Yes, you need to add drainage holes. Just poke some around the bottom sides with a screwdriver and that will suffice. If you put them on the bottom of the bag only and then set the bag on the patio or such, it can’t drain freely so make sure to get them on the sides around the bottom.

  19. I had some left over russet seed taters the others went into a large drained tub. so I did the last few in a bag of compost. The bag taters are doing better than the ones in the tub. Can t wait till I can cut the bag and harverst some fresh yummy russet taters slathered with butter and sour cream

  20. age.
    I followed most of the advice posted, and I had a reasonable harvest of potatoes seeing as it was my first time.
    I had some problems with drainage, but managed in the end can’t wait for the next crop.
    I started with 5 bags 5 ordinary potatoes from the grocery store in each, and I harvested 12kg’s in total, but I can do better next time I am sure, I have one question what kind of insect eats the leaves? Thanks people great help.

  21. Potatoes hate “wet feet” U MUST have drainage holes. I also put 2inches of gravel in ANY container with garden cloth over the top . This keeps the soil from washing away and makes for great drainage! good luck!

  22. could good garden soil be used instead of compost?

  23. Good article, I grew some potatoes in old empty 50 pound dog food bags.

  24. I used these bags with some success last summer (not as many potatoes as I would have liked, but we had record high temps for several weeks). How to use them without holes? MAKE some holes. Of course this means setting the bags on a surface that can get wet. I used a portion of my driveway where I don\’t ever put the car.

    Must admit though, I wasn\’t happy with the yields, whether from the hot weather or some other factor.

    Oh, and I think most people are recommending far too many potatoes per bag, when in-garden spacings are 10-12\” apart. And potatoes are heavy feeders, even if they don\’t like fresh manure, so planting in only 4 to 6 inches of soil (often suggested) seems rather foolish too. I put mine in 12 inches of a lovely compost/peat/vermiculite/rich soil mix.

    I definitely plan to try again. And I did have a good harvest from regular large black flower pots (5 gallon size).

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