Thursday, June 7, 2012

Growing Potatoes in Sacks

Last year I started a potato planting experiment which has helped my design of this year's new crop. This year I'm planting the Sebago variety, the great all rounder.

Winter is a great time to start as the constant damp cooler days seems to work it's magic on the potato crop yield. Certified Potatoes are now available in most good hardware stores, major stores and nurseries during late Autumn to Winter.

My harvests, however, have often been a little lack luster. And so my experiment began - using three different ways to grow potatoes and different levels of fertiliser.

I struggled with the potting mix bag experiment right to the end to try to increase their yield. When I finally opened the bags I was delighted to discover a mass of potatoes for harvesting. I was quite amazed to find that the bags did BETTER than those sown directly into the garden bed. Maybe it was the soil mix I used.

So this year I begin a new crop using a new product on the market, potato planter bags from Jute Shop. Available at Bunnings Warehouse stores for $9.95 each.

Jute Shop potato planter bags
Shorter Jute Shop planter bag
There are two sizes in the planter bags to choose from at Bunnings. The shorter bag size I have used for my English Spinach. There are drainage holes at the bottom, which the interior of each bag is plastic coated to help keep the bags from rotting during the season.

Mounding The Soil

One of the things that I was very lazy about during the experiment was the amount of extra soil that needed to be added throughout the growing season. Heaping soil around the base of the plants was more important that I had first thought. And not just a little but a jolly good load of it!

Potatoes are very similar to sour sob weeds. Their bulbs grow near the surface of the soil. They need to stay covered to prevent them from becoming green and poisonous.

The great thing about these Jute Shop bags is their height. I have rolled each bag down to ensure that the potatoes will receive enough sunlight. As the grow and I add more soil, I can then roll the sides of the bags up. Add more soil when the plants grow to about 200mm in height.

Step 1: Fold down sides of bag

STEP 2: Add soil mixed with cow peat and plant potatoes

STEP 3: Cover with extra soil and water
I am also trialing a different potting mix with this crop: Richgro Garden Soil Mix

Remember that Potatoes need a liquid fertiliser every few weeks to get those beauties to a good size.

Are you planting potatoes this year? I'd love to hear from you.


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  2. Are you able to plant these potatoes using the same method throughout the year?

    1. Yes, absolutely. But remember in summer to keep them really moist. The drying out of the soil is often what can cause the crop to fail. At the same time, you don't want it so wet that it becomes boggy, which can lead to rot. Potatoes can be grown all year round. Good luck!

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