Plants & Growing

How To Grow Potatoes At Home In Your Garden

potatoes unearthed from soil
Written by Evie Graham

Potatoes are a staple in Western diets. From cracking roast potatoes that form part of traditional Sunday lunches to neatly topped pies, they are a tasty element that form the basis for many of our favourite recipes in the kitchen.

Learning how to grow this root vegetable is a great piece of know-how and, you may be pleasantly surprised with just how easy it all is!

As a greater number of people are turning to grow their own produce, potatoes (while generally seen as a more complex veggie to grow) aren’t actually too demanding in terms of time or effort.

Whether you have a lot of garden space or are limited in this respect, there are a number of ways in which you can grow your very own potatoes with ease.

We’re going to introduce you to two potato growing methods so you’ll soon have your very own hearty grown potatoes to show off to friends around the dinner table.

What You’ll Need To Grow Your Own

When it comes to growing any of your own produce from scratch, be it in your own garden or allotment space, there are a number of things you’ll want to tick off before getting started. Potatoes don’t require too much fuss, in fact that’s probably the reason why they’ve been cultivated for thousands of years!

Make sure you have the following things to hand:

  • A suitable box, bag or other container
  • Seed potato pieces
  • A shovel
  • Compost-soil mixture
  • Fertiliser

As you can see from the list above, potatoes aren’t particularly demanding vegetables to grow. We’ll go into more detail about suitable boxes, bags and containers for growing them below.

What Type Of Potato Shall I Plant?

It’s entirely up to you which variety of potato you choose. As a general rule of thumb, first and second varieties work best, meaning if you’re a first-time grower, you may want to opt for either of these options.

Salad potatoes are easily grown using the container method and are a great way of stepping foot into the potato growing world too.

How To Grow In A Bag

One of the most convenient and easiest ways to grow potatoes from the comfort of your own garden is using the bag method. You’ll be able to find commercial growing bags at a local gardening store and these are just what you’ll need to get started.

Made using heavy and robust polypropylene, they’re ideal for growing a number of vegetables including potatoes. We wouldn’t recommend using bin bags as an alternative as in the case of growing potatoes, you really do need something with inherent strength.

We’ve set out the steps below for planting potatoes into a bag:

Before filling your bag, position it in a spot where it will receive plenty of sunlight – somewhere the potatoes aren’t going to be damaged by excessive moisture.

  1. Put a few inches of soil-compost mixture into the bottom of one of your bags.
  2. Lay out your tubers so that their eyes are facing up. This refers to the tiny nub or sprout that is visible and which the plant will emerge from.
  3. Cover with a further 3-4 inches and some fertiliser.
  4. As plant shoots begin to emerge, add more compost-soil mix to cover them.
  5. Repeat the above process, continually covering the shoots until the bag is filled with only around 2 inches remaining at the top.
  6. Ensure you’re keeping the compost-soil mix moist as the vegetables grow – but be careful not to overdo it as this can cause rotting to occur.

Harvesting potatoes from a bag:

There are 3 different harvesting methods, first earlies, second earlies (your salad varieties) and maincrop varieties.

First earlies – harvest your potatoes in smaller quantities throughout June and July. They’re best eaten fresh when the plant’s flowers are fully open and matured.

Second earlies/salad varieties – best to harvest in small quantities, eat when fresh in June and July as with first earlies. The plant’s flowers will be open and matured.

Maincrop varieties – can be harvested from September onwards. Store in a hessian sack to keep the potatoes cool and dry.

How To Grow In Containers

Another common way to grow potatoes in your own garden is using the container method. Like that of the bag, it’s all about improvisation and, ensuring that the vegetables have the correct environment to flourish and grow.

When it comes to choosing a suitable container for growing this wonder-food, people can get pretty creative! From upcycling tires to using empty buckets, this humble veggie can grow just about anywhere…

We’ve set out the steps for planting potatoes into your chosen container:

  1. Make sure that the ratio of seed potato pieces to the size of your container is sensible.
  2. Put a few inches of soil-compost mixture into the bottom of one of the containers that you’re using.
  3. Lay out your tubers so that their eyes are facing up. This refers to the tiny nub or sprout that is visible and which the plant will emerge from.
  4. Cover with a further 3-4 inches and some fertiliser.
  5. Repeat the above process of covering the shoots until the bag is filled with only around 2 inches remaining at the top.
  6. Ensure you’re keeping the compost-soil mix moist as the vegetables grow but be careful not to overdo it as this can cause rotting to occur.

As you can see from above, choosing to plant your tubers into a container roughly follows the same method as the bag option.

Potato plants grown in a sack on an allotment in the UK
Potato plants grown in sacks on an allotment

And there you have it! The most difficult part of deciding to grow your own potatoes is simply getting started. Whether you’re a complete newbie when it comes to living from your own produce or you want to step-up your game, you’ll find growing the reliable root vegetable far easier than you likely imagined.

Think of all the delicious recipes featuring your own home-made potatoes that you can make!

About the author

Evie Graham

Evie has always loved nature and being outdoors. Today she spends every spare moment she can amongst it as her way to relax and unwind. Having grown up in a family with a deep passion for gardening, she grew up learning about plants and hopes to pass on her knowledge to others through writing. Her favourite plant is a fern, as it’s a beautiful nostalgic reminder of exploring woodland settings when younger.

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