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Friday, April 22, 2011

Growing Potatoes In Garbage Bags

Potatoes can be grown in containers and a garbage bag will do just fine. The benefit of a garbage bag is that it can be unraveled to meet the growth of the potatoes. As I wrote previously you are adding soil to your container, in this case a garbage bag, every time you get 6 to 8 inches of green stalk growth. The bags also warm quickly and this help speed up the growth process.

The main points first and then the pictures. Oh make sure your bags are at least 30 gallons and 1 millimeter thick. You don't want the bags tearing. I think it is measured in millimeters, anyway it will say on the box.

Fill the bag up with a minimum of 8 inches or so of soil. I used leaves, compost, soil, and what was around the yard. Just make sure the growing medium is loose. They also like a bit of acidity, so if you have peat moss, use some.

Absolutely make sure you poke dozens of holes in the bottom of the bag or you will end up with a mess. The water has to drain out.

My bags and seed potatoes. You can see the seed potatoes have growth on them.

Fill the bag up about as much as in the picture. You want about 8 inches of growing medium of some sort in there. You can see some leaves that didn't fully compost. Roll the bag down tightly like I did. You will unroll the garbage bag as the green stalks grow.

I am using the five remaining potatoes left from my other container plantings. This is a standard planting pattern.  Bury them about 3 inches deep and try to aim the strongest growth buds upward. Don't worry if you don't get it exactly right. The potato will correct itself.

In about 7 to 10 days, with potatoes that already sprouted before planting, you will see the growth breaking through the soil. Make sure the bag is not covering it. Adjust the bag as needed and keep it tightly rolled.

The potato stalks will grow upward. Potatoes are like tomatoes in the sense that if you cover the green stalks, they will root. Every time there is 6 to 8 inches of growth, add enough soil to cover 1/2 the growth. If you get 8 inches of growth, add enough soil to cover 4 inches of growth. Repeat again when another 8 inches of growth occurs. You can just use grass clippings to cover the stalk growth.

Potatoes will grow out from the buried stalk. The more you cover, the more potatoes you will get. As you add soil, raise the sides of the garbage bag. You don't want potatoes growing that get sun. They will green and do become poisonous. Just don't eat green potatoes.

You can harvest them after the green growth turns yellow and dies back. Just cut open the bag and collect your potatoes.

Here is the potato variety I used.


  1. That's a great idea. Went to pick up some fertilizer yesterday and what did I find?? Kennebec seed potatoes ! figured it must be a sign since I had just read your article so I bought some. About how long did it take for the taters to grow??

  2. This is the first year I have done it. I don't know how long the whole process takes. But it took only 7 -10 days to get the stalks to poke out yellow. Now the stalks are about an inch high and very green! Took about 3 weeks to get to this point.

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