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Monday, March 7, 2011

A Gardener's Challenge: Growing Potatoes in a 30 Gallon Bag

I am issuing a challenge to those that follow my blog and those that pass by. I have grown potatoes in the ground. I have never grown potatoes in a trash bag. Each year I like trying new things. This year I selected growing potatoes in a 30 gallon trash bag. Who knows maybe I'll do a tomato too. The bag idea has always intrigued me because it both saves space and creates a way to raise the soil up the shoots of the potato plants. The potatoes grow off the shoots. The more shoot you bury, the more potatoes you get, in theory. In my garden this was always a challenge. Here is how it is done. If you need more information, searching growing potatoes in bags will give you more information then you probably need.

The challenge, who can get the most potatoes out of one 30 gallon trash bag.

1. Get a 30 gallon trash bag.
2. Poke holes in the bottom for ample drainage. Sitting water will rot the potatoes.
3. Fill the bag up 1/3 the way with your choice of growing material (part of the challenge)
4. Plant the potatoes. They should go at least 2 inches below the soil with the bud/eye facing upwards.

There are different strategies for growing the potatoes. Some people let the eyes/buds form in the house. Some just plant a potato. Some cut a large potato into pieces that have buds. Some people sulfur the cut edge to prevent disease. There are lots of ways to do it.

5. Give them a big drink but don't make mud.
6. When the shoots get 6 to 8 inches, bury them again by 2/3 or 3/4 with your choice of growing material.
7. Water again if need. No mud
8. Repeat steps 6-8 unraveling the bag as you need to.
9. When the green growth has turned brown and died. You are ready for harvest.

You can harvest the potatoes how you wish. Some people let them sit a few weeks once the green leaves have died back to harden up the potato skins. You'll have to decide what is the best strategy.

The potato challenge has been thrown out (that's a garbage bag joke). Garden humor is tough. I will do a picture update. And this can be started quite soon in the Maryland Zone. That is probably the main reason I am doing it. I can get growing.