potatoes are one of my favorite crops to grow and harvest in my urban garden. Today I am going to show you how I grow my potatoes and double my harvest without having to increase the number of grow bags or space needed.
I start my potatoes in grow bags in the garage usually 4 weeks before the last frost usually in early April. I fill the bags with 1/2 potting mix and 1/2 compost. The compost feeds the plants while the potting mix holds water. I fill them 3/4 the way full.
I then toss a whole seed potato in the soil and just cover it completely. If the eyes are large enough I allow some of the eyes to poke above the soil. Those eyes will form the plant. The extra bag is fairly easy to roll down helping to prevent shading the early growth. it is important to start your potatoes as early as you can in order for this method to work.
During the day I bring the potatoes out onto the drive way returning them at night until the last frost. Once the threat of frost has passed I put them in the garden area.
When the plants are 30cm or 12 inches tall I add more compost and potting soil to mound them. This protects the potatoes growing below from greening which ruins them and can cause irritation if eaten. I don’t fill the bags however all of the way though and you will see why in a minute.
Before I get to the tip to double the potato harvest I would like to speak about potatoes in general. Most seed potatoes you can purchase such as these Rosemarie, which are pink and Purple Magic are determinant varieties. What that means is you plant them and they put on one crop all at the same time.
The rosemarie potatoes are a faster producing than the purple magic helping me spread the harvests out. I should be able to harvest these from Mid-July through to late September.
In order to spread out the harvest and double up on crops I have done a few things.
The first is doubling up on the crop I get per bag.
These two varieties are determinant so the first plant I just hilled will only produce one crop below where we hilled up the soil. Meaning you can plant another seed potato above the first effectively allowing you to double up your plants per container and hence the harvest.
So when hilling I don’t fill the bags all the way and plant the second seed potato again with some eyes pointing up. After these plants grow I will top off the containers.
I dont do this with all of my potato bags. In fact I chose these 11 litre or 3 gallon 100 percent recycled fabric pots so that I can harvest them earlier than the ones I doubled up on. As you all know I love to spread my harvest out.
It is time to harvest the double bags when the second plant begins to die back.
This method can be done if you are growing your potatoes in raised beds or rows. Simply hill your potatoes and plant the new seeds between the plants.
If you would like to learn more about growing potatoes check out the link below.
Container Potato Growing Episode:
Container Growing for Beginners: