If I was asked to recommend one thing for anyone to grow, whether you are just starting out or an experienced allotmenteer, it would be potatoes....the number one vegetable crop in the world and....the resistant starch, found in cooked and cooled potatoes, is considered a superfood for your gut, what more could you want?
Don't have space for a vegetable patch? Not keen on digging? This is where gro-sacks come into play....if I am honest, I have the room to grow my potatoes in the ground, but I still use my trusty gro-sacks from Marshalls Seeds....why? Well, I don't have to dig the ground over (which is really hard work), I can move the gro-sacks around the garden throughout the year, I have more control over the soil quality (no stones), when I am ready to harvest my potatoes, I can tip the bag upside down and there is no risk of spearing my best potato with my spade....the list goes on but I think you get the idea
So, where to start....you need to pick your potato variety....you will find a great guide at 'potatoes more than a bit on the side', whether you prefer your potatoes fluffy, smooth or in a salad
Next, purchase your tubers (aka seed potatoes; very similar to what you would buy from the supermarket, but certified virus-free)....you will be able to find these in most garden centres and even some supermarkets. However, if you are looking to purchase online, I can recommend Marshalls Seeds, Suttons Seeds and Sarah Raven.
This is where the growing starts....place your tubers into an egg box (with the lid off) in a light, frost free environment to chit (aka sprout). Once you have 2-3 good chits (aka sprouts) it is time to get them in your gro-sacks. Put a good 10cm (4") of organic compost in the bottom of your gro-sack and place your tubers into the soil, approximately 4 per bag, then cover with a further 5cm (2") of organic compost
once you have 2-3 good sprouts it is time to get them in your gro-sacks
cover with a further 5cm (2") of organic compost
You may have noticed my homemade irrigation system here....the one downside to gro-sacks (okay there is one) is that it is difficult to ensure the water soaks all the way to the bottom of the bag....this will unfortunately effect the quality and quantity of your harvest. This problem can be easily solved with a drain pipe and a drill (if you don't have either of these, let me know, I am sure we can knock something up for you)
homemade irrigation system
all you need is a drain pipe and a drill
Now it is time to watch and wait. As the leaves start to grow, slowly add more soil (aka earthing up) until you eventually get to the top of your bag. Variety dependant, you will be able to harvest your potatoes either during or after flowering
potatoes and gro-sacks go together....
....like peas in a pod
I shall leave you with one thought....watch out for those pesky slugs. I will give you some ideas for keeping them away very soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions please feel free to comment below