Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Growing Potatoes In Growbags

I find growing potatoes to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of growing veggies at home.  There are few things in life that are as comforting and delicious as good old spuds.  It is incredible the difference it makes to the humble spud to grow it at home.  I have found home grown ones to be far more fluffy and soft than shop bought ones.  Furthermore, in my opinion, the skin on homegrown spuds is so much tastier than that of its shop bought brother.

Spuds are so simple to grow and there's a variety of ways in which you can grow them.  You don't need to grow them in growbags at all.  If you have space in your garden, then stick some in there.  Last year, I planted three spuds in a window box and enjoyed a good crop of little potatoes.  Obviously, the more space they have, the bigger they can grow (they're a bit like goldfish that way).  Growbags are a fantastic alternative because they have a lot of depth, which provides the spuds with plenty of space (translation: plenty of good size spuds for you) and they don't take up a lot of space, making them ideal for people who don't have a big garden.  They can be kept indoors, on patios, on balconies, outside; wherever you want really.  In short, growbags are the kind of tool that fit in with your life, as opposed to you having to make concessions for them.


When choosing a variety of spuds to grow, decide what you like to do with your spuds.  In other words, do you like to mash them or bake them or make them into a salad etc.  Knowing what your intentions with respect to your spuds are, will position you far better to select a variety of spud that is right for you.  You can go to garden centres like B&Q and Homebase and buy spuds for planting and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this if you choose do so.  However, I always find that I have spuds left over after I've bought a bag from the supermarket, so I just place these in a plastic bag in a dark cupboard and leave them to grow roots.  Then I plant them. Simple!

TIP: I mentioned in a previous post that you should wait for the roots to turn white.  They will be green when they first start to grow, but if you leave them for a while they will soon turn white and be ready to go into the ground. you have your growbags, your soil and your spuds.  The big question is how do you combine all of these elements to form a masterpiece that will yield a magical return.  Look no further, you wonderful budding gardeners, the answer is revealed below.

First things first, you must ensure that the time of year is right for planting spuds.  The first crop can be planted in Spring.  These should be ready for harvesting in Summer.  You can also plant in Summer and these should be ready in Autumn.  So, really anytime between Spring and Summer, you can plant spuds till your hearts content.

TIP FOR UK GROWERS: Your first batch of spuds should be planted after St. Patrick's Day on the 17th March 2011.

Having determined that the time is right to grow your own spuds, open up your growbag and fill it approximately one quarter of the way with some good quality soil.  I recommend using fruit and veg compost, as it has all the nutrients necessary to help your spuds grow into healthy, wonderful delights.  You may want to add a bit of fertiliser to give the soil a bit of extra oomph.  Place you spuds in the soil with the roots facing upwards.  You simply need to push them into the soil until they can stand upright on their own, which should be the depth of about half the spud.  You could probably plant about 5 or 6 spuds per growbag, depending on the size of the spuds you're using.  Once you have done this, cover the spuds with soil to about half way up the growbag.  You should ensure that all the roots are covered and there is no part of the spud sticking out.  Give them a good watering.  You will notice that the soil will draw down once you have watered it.  I would say that 3 good waterings with a watering can should be sufficient.

Now that you have done the ground work, you can leave your spuds to blossom and grow.  You will notice after a few weeks (perhaps even less) that your spud plants will start to grow through the soil. 

When you see the leaves coming out, fill the growbag to the top with soil.  This will fool the spuds into believing that they have not yet begun to grow and will ensure that you end up with many more spuds than you would otherwise have done.  They may be tasty and delicious, but they're not very bright!  Once you have filled your growbag to the top, give it another good watering, about 2 or 3 times with the watering can and leave your spud plants to grow.  Once again, this should only take a few weeks.

The key to harvesting spuds is flowers!  When your potato plants start to flower, it means that your spuds are ready for harvesting.  That is not to say that it is not altogether unlikely that your plants may not flower.  My plants didn't flower last year and I was deeply concerned that my spuds had failed.  However, it's good to know that no flowers does not necessarily mean no spuds.  When I dug up my flowerless spuds last year, I had a good crop.  So,  if you don't have any flowers after approximately 3 months, just dig up your spuds anyway and you will be surprised to find the delightful treasures that await you beneath the soil.

The most fabulous thing about growbags is that they enable you to dig out your spuds from underneath.  They have a pouch at the bottom that you open up when your spuds are ready for harvesting and dig them out this way.  This minimises mess and enables you to get straight to the point with digging them up.  I absolutely LOVE this idea!

The growbag's pouch is one of the best things about them. You can dig the spuds out from the bottom!

Once you have opened your pouch and dug out your beautiful spuds, all that is left for you to do is cook them in a manner you so choose and enjoy them!

Growing spuds in a growbag is probably one of the simplest veggie growing processes and I highly recommend it for novices to give you some inspiration to get growing.  In fact, growing spuds in general is an easy process, whether it be in growbags, in a window box or directly into a garden.  You really should give it a go.  If there is one thing that will motivate you to keep going with the whole veggie growing concept, it has to be growing your own spuds!  So, go out there; get yourself a growbag (cheap), some soil (cheap) and some leftover spuds (cheap) and reap the veggies of your labour as soon as possible.


  1. This is such a great idea for people who wanted to grow potatoes at home but neither had the rich soil nor didn’t have any soil at all. All they have to do is to grab some soil elsewhere and put it in the bag and start growing their own plants from there.

    Salvatore Aguilar

  2. where can I get these grow bags?

  3. Hi S.A.G

    You can pick up these bags almost anywhere: Homebase, B&Q, Home Bargains, I've even found them in Poundland. :)

  4. Hello, can I grow my potaotes indoors in a grow bag? How often would I need to water them? I live in a 3rd floor flat so I can't really leave them outside.



    1. Hi Andy, I've never tried growing them indoors myself, but I can't see why it wouldn't work, if the conditions were right. I'd look for a warm, sunny spot to maximise your chances. I would say you'd need to water regularly if they're getting good light and warmth. After you've given them a good watering at the start, I'd say once every 3 or 4 days would be enough, or perhaps every 2nd day if you've got good sun coming in. Let me know how you get on, if you decide to give it a go. It's difficult to fail with potatoes. Good luck. 😊