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in Fruit & veg
Watched Monty Don grow potatoes in bag last Season, but don't know what size he use. Just bought myself 5 Builders Bags for £2 as cannot justify £15 for 3 listed in Seed Catalogues! Same material. same design, 60cm wide (2ft) by 90cm high (3ft)
Now I need to know how other's have fared with this method, and when and how I plant it up. (eg. How many potatoes can I put in each bag?) All suggestions welcome.
I use soil taken from my veg patch mixed with homemade compost to fill my bags. I generally put 5 first early tubers in each bag. One year I initially part filled the bags and then 'earthed up' by adding more compost as the stems grew. Second year I put all the compost in at once and buried the potatoes at about 18". There didn't seem to be any difference in the final crop. I start mine off towards the end of March and feed with tomato feed from May onwards.
biofreak, I grow in bags but not the size of builders bags, more like big pots, get them cheap at poundland as name suggests and Wilko and such places. If by builders bags you mean the size sand is deliverd in they are huge, and you"ll need far too much compost.
are these 1 ton bags
Muddyfork what sort of yield did you get?
I have bought hessian gravel carrying bags which take up to 65Kg. Just unwrapped one - Measurements as per I mentioned before and certainly manageable,
Pots have always been brilliant from Poundland as you say, but I have other cunning plans for them this year, to maximise veg plot space. I can line bags up along the hedge. Nice to know I can start in Marcg, I have always waited until Easter or as per the old gardening tip - Lilac Time. (When the first lilac flowers come out). Am going to try Belle de Fontenay this year for a change - Nearest taste I can get to Jersey Royals apart from Pink Fir Apple.
Re Maincrop - Just can't wait that long to tuck in, and really cheap here. Recommend Apollo - Fantastic Roastie and Baker. Not sure if it is available in UK though.
biofreak, sorry about asking about size, I should go to S/savers.
Grew some a couple of years ago. Think there were 3 to a bag. It wasn't all that successful for me so am going to try them in a raised bed instead this year to see if I I get better yields.
For the last 2 years I've used the large bags that multi-purpose comes in. I make sure to pierce loads of drainage holes in the bottm. It takes a bit of effort to get the base flat but bashing it about eventually does the trick.Two or three seed potatoes per bag. Around 25 reasonable spuds per bag with loads of smaller ones.
I've grown spuds in bags for a few years now and really rate it if growing for one or two people. I bought bags from Willkinsons, cheap and very durable.
Builders bags may be too pourus, ie when you water, the sides don't retain water and it floods out. Small recycle containers which have holes in the bottom are good for spud growing, that's if you don't want the expense of buying custom spud bags.
I put crocks in the bottom of bags for drainage and a min layer of compost, spuds like seaweed, so if you can obtain some seaweed washed up on the beach put some in at this stage and put your chitted spuds on top with a good layer of MPC or home grown compost...half fill the spud bag with your choosen poison.
Label the bags, 1st, 2nd or main and as shoots start to push through the compost keep topping up the bag, making sure you don't break the spud shoots.
I put 5 to 6 spuds in each bag and get a varible crop depending on the variety. Grew 6 bags last year and didn't buy a spud from July through to December.
Great feedback! Did not know spuds liked seaweed - I thought that was onions and leeks only? Living by the sea makes this easier for me. Tractors passing all the time with trailers full of seaweed for the leek fields, Lots of us following with buckets to pick up leftovers in road!! Bit like the old days with horse p----!
Re alternative planting potatoes, I had a go at French organic recommendation for new method and it worked really well, so shall do again in rotten patch of land that needs using. Lay compost, sit potatoes on top, then add lawn mowings plus one more layer of compost. After this as soon as the potatoes show though and every time you mow the lawn, cover with lawn mowings and don't water. After flowering, pop your hand in and lo and behold out comes a beautifl clean potato ready for the pot. It did work in semi-shade. I'm not sure I would do it in full sun or full shade. I only used greengrocer spuds that had sprouted out of curiosity, but I shall try some proper seed potatoes in addition to the bags (By the way checked material on label this morning 100% polypropolyne - Do you think this will leak or sweat?)
I have tried several times growing in bags without much success in yield. I did accidentally move one bag behind the house and it produced a higher yield of potatoes, thirty in all where the other bags only produced 8.
The house sheltered the potatoes from the sun until the end of the day, perhaps that's the success of growing potatoes? keep the earth moist and force the potatoes to search for the sunlight?
I'm still a newbie gardener, only been growing for a few seasons. All my planting is from trial and error.