Potatoes: Differing Results from Growbags
Potatoes: Differing Results in Growbags
My sister was excited to eat her potatoes so she dug them all up. Yikes. Only a single baby potato appeared. If you have potatoes in pots or in the ground and you are wondering if they are ready to dig up feel the top of the soil first with your hands. If you can feel a potato, pull it out. If you feel several potatoes, pull them out. If the plant is dead and brown and you feel potatoes, empty the whole pot.
This potato is growing in a growbag. The leaves are still green and the plant may start to bloom soon. The potatoes or spuds at this stage are not going to form until the flowering is finished and the plants start to yellow and die back so be patient. [/caption]
The truth is different varieties of potatoes will be ready at different times. Judith used the grow bags I sell online to raise potatoes this year and she wrote: “We grew Norland (I think it was). Out of three 10-gallon bags, we got about 25 pounds. They were perfect, too! No blemishes, bugs, beetles, worms etc. We had very tall luxurious tops and we wondered for a while if it was going to be all tops and no potatoes. But the potatoes were definitely there. Next year we’ll try to grow [late] potatoes to see if we could get more.”
Early in the season potatoes can be harvested from grow bags and eaten fresh as new potatoes. There is no need to wait for plants to die back when you are pulling and eating these early spuds. There is also no need to pull out the whole plant because these keep sizing up as the plants continue to grow. Just reach in and grab a few from the top of the bag.
So between my sister and Judith the truth is buried somewhere. The various things that lead to bigger yields and better harvests include the soil, the timing of planting, the variety and the timing of harvest. Have you pulled your potatoes yet? Have you reached in to see if there are any spuds hidden deep? Like Judith I love the grow bags because they breathe and the potatoes you harvest are perfect and clean. The only difference for me is that after I harvest I empty the soil out onto the gardens I grow. Then I start fresh in spring with new compost from my bins. Potatoes are heavy feeders so they like fresh compost and plenty of fertilizer.
This piece of quack grass grew through the soil and into the potato growing in a garden bed. Like Judith, I find potatoes grown in bags are cleaner and pest free.
If you can’t feel any potatoes on the soil surface, I suggest waiting until the plants die back, waiting two weeks and then emptying the grow bag. Why two weeks? It takes that long for the skin to harden and toughen up for storage. Course you might not want to store them. They might end up in dinner tonight.
If potato plants are dead, the skins toughen up and the spuds can be stored in a cool space for a long time. These potatoes can be eaten fresh or stored away for good winter eating.
A yummy dinner of fresh cooked cabbage and onions plus roasted potatoes and sliced cucumber is a typical dinner in our house this month.
PS I plan to speak to an organic potato grower about potatoes for my podcast so I would love to hear how you do with you your potatoes and what types you like to grow. Then I’ll post your questions to the grower.
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