July 17, 2023
The Searles Gardening Team
Many gardeners grow potatoes using the in-ground method. Potatoes can also be grown in large pots or potato bags, sold at good gardening outlets, specifically for this purpose.
Some gardeners use this method for ease of cropping or due to the lack of room or too much winter shade in their garden. The in-bag method is very similar to the process used for growing them in the ground. Once you have selected your container or potato bag, select a potting mix with free draining properties but rich in organic matter. Searles Fruit Citrus and Rose Specialty Mix can be used in the garden or containers. Growing potatoes in bags and containers will help protect from late and unexpected frosts.
Get a head start in the planting season by sprouting seed potatoes indoors before you plant them in the soil. ‘Chitting’, as it is known by gardeners, is the great way to start the potato growing sprouts while waiting for the last frost to pass and the soil to warm up. Place seed potatoes in the cardboard carton or egg carton and position them in a warm, well-lit position inside the house. Windowsills are ideal warm spots. After a few weeks, green sprouts will appear from the eye of the potato, signalling you can plant them in container or potato bags.
When growing potatoes in bags or pots, use the layering method. Place a layer of mix in the bottom of the container about 10cm deep, and place your seed potatoes on the mix with the eyes or sprouts facing up. Cover the seed potato with another 10cm of mix, water and wait. Once the seed potato has sprouted and they have stems reaching about 20cm, lay the stems over onto the mix and cover with another 10cm of mix. Keep repeating this process until your reach the rim of the container. Layering the stems will increase the crop. Potato bags have a peel-up window so you can see the potatoes developing.
Keep up the regular watering as you would with any container grown plant.
Harvest potatoes when the stems and leaves start turning yellow and dying back. Carefully lift potatoes from the soil and spread them out on the piece of newspaper to dry and brush the excess soil from the skin. Store the firmer skinned potatoes for later consumption and eat first the potatoes which have softer skin.
Store potatoes in a hessian or paper bag in the darkest and driest part of your pantry.
Click here for more info on growing sweet potatoes.