The potato, that wonderful vegetable, so versatile in the ways it can be prepared for dining, has proven difficult to grow on the steep slope that is the Fairegarden. When it was discovered that potatoes could be successfully grown in large bags, as was the claim, we jumped on board to give it a whirl. Here are our findings:
The bags chosen were fifteen gallon size, made from felt. The potting mix was organic Fafard mix. The potatoes chosen were Rose Finn Apple and Butte, ordered from Gardener’s Supply. The directions were followed carefully, placing the bags in a sunny spot near the hose spigot for easy watering. Potting mix was placed in the bags, the potatoes were cut in half and planted, more soil was added. Regular watering was done.
As the foliage grew taller, more potting mix was added twice until each bag was full to the top. The potato plants flowered well.
We were away for a week for the family beach vacation in mid-June and upon our return the plants were very droopy and dry. It had gotten abnormally hot and there had been no rainfall. Water was added and the potato plants perked up.
Finally the tops had yellowed and died down. It was time for the big reveal. The bags were very easily turned upside down on a drop cloth. There was no digging, as advertised. The Rose Finn had produced only a few marble sized potatoes. I give them a grade of D-minus. There were potatoes at least, or it would have received a failing mark. The Butte did better, but not as many potatoes were produced as claimed. I give them a C.
Overall, I am very happy with the bags, and have planted radishes and carrots in one and zinnias in another, which are doing well so far. Kale has been planted in the former potato bag and germinated in one day in the reused soil. The other bag was too full of holes to be used again. I may cut it up for some future project.
I will not be planting potatoes in the bags again. The local farmer’s markets are selling beautiful, good sized potatoes for a good price. It may be better to grow winter greens in the bags, planted in the fall. But there will be no more potatoes in bags here. Onward.