Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 10 March 2011

Early Potatoes in grow sacks.

So, you want to grow potatoes but have no space...so what do you do?

You grow spuds in bags or pots, thats what!

To get an earlier crop of yummy new potatos I planted these in Feb, on a waning moon. If you have a sheltered place you will get an earlier crop by doing this, up to 4 weeks earlier. Mmmmm new potatoes and butter

Take the potato bag ( could be an old compost bag, it does not have to be a special potato growing bag - as long as it excludes the light it will work!)
  and place a layer of drainage material such as small stones on the bottom of the bag. Place the bag where it will grow until harvesting the potatoes , as you do not want to move it around once you have planted the bag with seed potatoes and growing medium ( it will be heavy and moving the bag will not be of benefit to the growing spuds)

 Add around 15 cm of good quality peat free growing medium. On top of this layer place 4 seed potatoes, equally spaced out and around 15cm from the edge of the bag

Add another 10 cm layer of good quality growing medium. You can then add  another 2 or 3 seed potatoes on top of this layer, if you wish. If you do, cover them with another 10 cm of growing medium.

• Place the potato bag in sheltered sunny spot and as the green shoots emerge cover with more growing medium to hide the tips of the shoots, until the bag is filled to the top and the potatoe foliage grows out of the top of the bag.

• Make sure there is a always a good covering of soil on the top of growing tubers, as daylight turns the potatoes green, and they are then poisonous and must NOT be eaten.
• If you want your potatoes to have enough space to grow to a decent size don’t plant more than 5 potatoes per bag
• On cold nights cover the bag with some protective fleece to prevent frost damage. I grow my very early potatoes inside my Polytunnel.
• Water well – around a gallon of water per plant per day is recommended when the full foliage is present.
• When the tops of the plants begin to grow, use canes to support them.
• When flower buds begin to appear it is a sign that the tubers are starting to swell.You might want to use some comfrey fertiliser or other organic treatment to nourish the growing tubers at this stage.
• Harvest after around 10 – 12 weeks.

This method also works for all other potatoes later in the season.

Eat fresh and enjoy!


  1. Quick but silly question I'm sure. What do you think of reusing large dog food bags for potato growing? I also was thinking I could sew some with leftover canvas tarp but I dunno if they would be too flopsy and fall over

  2. As long as the water can drain out and the light can't get in to spoil the potatoes that would be fine.

    I grow them in old compost bags :)


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