Growing potatoes in bags with kids is a fantastic gardening activity that lets little gardeners have the experience of growing and harvesting their own food.
When we are choosing what veggies to grow with our kids we try to pick vegetables that are easy to grow in containers and fun to harvest. In this post we will show you how our kids plant their potatoes in bags.
First things first though!
Let us try to answer some questions you might have about how and when to grow potatoes.
When can I plant potatoes?
We are in the UK and before we can plant our potatoes in bags we need to wait until the risk of waking up to a heavy frost is gone and the outside temperature is above 10°c.
We like to use ‘Accuweather’ to keep track of the night temperatures. In general though we plant our potatoes in late March.
When can I harvest potatoes?
The time to harvest potatoes varies depending on whether you are growing first earlies, second earlies or a main crop potato.
First and second earlies are planted in late March – April time and harvested in June and July. These are your small new potatoes.
Main crop potatoes are planted around the same time but are left longer to grow and harvested some time around September, resulting in a bigger potato.
We grow main crop potatoes as the kids love to compete to find the biggest “Jackpot” potato.
Do potatoes grow well in bags?
Yes! Potatoes grow well in bags but like most things they flourish better when the environment is right. Potatoes planted in bags need to be placed in a sunny position and it is important not to overcrowd the bag with plants. As a guide when we are growing our potatoes in bags we like to grow 1 plant to 1 bag.
What do I need to grow potatoes in bags?
- Sunny position in the garden, patio, balcony etc.
- Free draining bag with a min depth of 40cm. Most grow bags are made out of materials that will naturally drain water, however if this is not the case you will need to make some drainage holes around the side of your bag.
- Seed potatoes. We highly recommend you buy these from a reliable source which are certified dieseas free and not to use old supermarket ones.
- Rotted manure (optional) Well rotted manure is much higher in nutrients than compost. If you can get your hands on some from a friend, stable, farmer etc you will have one happy potato plant.
- High potassium plant feed.
How do you plant potatoes in bags?
STEP 1. Buy your seed potato.
- If you haven’t already, buy some seed potatoes from your local gardening centre or online stockist. Most sites have really good guides explaining what varities are best to buy depending if you want first earlies, second earlies or main crop potatoes.
Our kids are planting 3 potatoes from last years harvest.
The potatoes have been left on the windowsil over winter to “chit”.
Chitting potatoes is the process of encouraging the potato to grow before it is planted.
Do not worry if you have not had time to chit your potatoes, it just means your plant will take a little longer to grow.
STEP 2. Fill your bags up with manure or compost.
- In your bag make a bed for your potato at a height of 15cm with either compost or manure.
We use the old bedding from our guinea pig hutches that has sat in bin bags over winter to rot down.
If you are using manure, then grown ups, this job is best left to you.
STEP 3. Plant your potato.
- The potato needs to be placed on top of the bed with its eye facing upwards.
Step 4. Cover the potato in compost
- Non chitted potatoes will need to be completely covered with a light layer of compost.
IMPORTANT: Do not swamp the potato.
- Chitted potatoes need to also be covered with a light layer of compost but you must leave a bit of the green growth left uncovered.
IMPORTANT: Do not swamp the potato
STEP 5. Water your plant
That’s it! Give the bags a good water, wash hands and have a well earned cup of tea or juice.
Now that you have planted your potatoes you might enjoy reading:
Thank you so much for reading this post, we hope you have enjoyed it. We love gardening with our kids and each year we are amazed at what we can grow in some old containers. Watching our kids take control of growing their own veggies makes us so happy and we hope that by sharing our gardening ideas we are able to help other little gardeners have the experience of growing their own crops.