Harvesting your potatoes in bags is not only a good way to grow them in small spaces, but it can also extend the harvest time. In addition, it’s also helpful in keeping pests and disease away from the spuds. And, it’s not a complicated process!
When planting your seed potatoes in late February or March, you can have a harvest through the summer months and into the fall. Or, you can plant in August, to have a crop of spuds for the winter months. These spuds are also referred to as “second cropping potatoes”.
You can see in the table below when to plant, and use it as a guide for when to expect fresh potatoes.
|Cropping Type||Planting time begins||Final planting date||Harvest from planting date|
|First early potatoes||End of February||Late May||10 weeks|
|Second early potatoes||March||Late May||13 weeks|
|Early maincrop potatoes||March||Late May||15 weeks|
|Maincrop potatoes||March||Mid May||20 weeks|
|Second cropping potatoes||Early August||End of August||11 weeks|
Chitting Your Potatoes
Your seed potatoes will benefit from a “chitting” process. This is particularly true for the earlies and second earlies.
The process involves letting them sprout with tentacle-like growths that form after potatoes sit around for a while, which will help with quicker growth and denser crops.
However, second cropping potatoes (those planted in August) does not require this process.
To encourage the chitting process along, lay out the seed potatoes in a cool (not freezing) and bright location. Some people use empty egg cartons for this stage. When the chits reach approximately 1” in length, the seed potatoes are ready for harvest. They are typically about the size of a chicken egg, but can vary in size.
Keep in mind, you will want to plant them with the sprouting end facing up.
How to Plant Potatoes in Bags
Old school methods would have you plant the potatoes at the bottom of the bag, then add more compost or soil as they grow.
However, newer methods are showing that is not necessary, as long as the spuds are kept protected from sunlight by the soil and compost.
Follow these steps to plant your seed potatoes in bags:
- Fill a bag (about 2 gallon in size) with good quality compost and soil to about 1” below the top of the bag
- Carefully bury a single chitted seed potato, about 5” down, with chitting sprouts facing upward
- Cover the potato with compost and soil
- Place the seeded bag in a sunny, but frost free zone
- Water the bag regularly (whenever the compost has signs of drying out)
- Feed the plant with fertilizer about every other week.
The table that was shared above is a guide for when to expect a harvest.
How to Store Potatoes
After you have harvested your potatoes, allow them to dry out in an area that is well ventilated, at least for a few hours until the skin is dry. Once you feel they have dried out enough, you can store them in potato sacks or paper, in a cool and dark area.
So, as you can see, it’s a very simple process. But, it’s a process that will allow you to have an extended harvest, even in tight spaces.
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