Steps to growing your own potatoes!
Step 1: Chitting
Your seed potatoes are best ‘chitted’ before planting. This simply means encouraging the potato to sprout before you plant it. This means you know what way to plant it, but it also encourages larger and earlier yields.
You can chit your potatoes in a cool, bright place, such as a north facing windowsill indoors.
We like to repurpose an empty egg carton to chit our seed potatoes in.
The slightly larger, more bulbous end (if you can tell - don’t worry if you can’t), typically tends to be where the biggest eyes are and where the strongest stems will shoot out from. Leave this end facing upwards initially. After maybe a week, take another look and check to see where the eyes seem to be developing the biggest shoots. Point this side up.
After a few weeks, you should have nice healthy shoots - about 1 inch tall - meaning your potatoes are ready to plant!
Step 2: Setup your bag
Start by choosing a warm and sunny position for your bag and add a good few inches of compost into the bottom.
Place the potatoes on this base layer of compost, with the shoots pointing upwards! Try to spread the potatoes as far apart as possible when you do this. Now, add another layer of compost until the shoots are just about fully covered!
Next, roll down the sides of the bag so that the surface of the soil is just below the rim! (The sprouts will soon grow out of the soil and we want them to get some light.)
Finally give the soil a good water. We want it nice and moist, but not soaked.
Top tip! If you’re growing inside, you can use the hessian sack as a stand for the grow bag. This can help prevent water draining out onto your floor if you add a little too much.
Step 3: Earth Up!
When the shoots reach about an inch above the surface of the soil, then it’s time to cover them up with more compost!
Unfurl the rolled-up sides of the bag a few inches and add another thin layer of compost. You just want to cover the shoots, not much more.
Top tip! Try to layer up before the shoots create any leaves. You specifically don’t want them sprouting leaves just yet, but we want to encourage the growth of a nice long stem - so we have lots of space for those stem tubers!
Water again if necessary - we want the soil to stay moist. Feel free to water anytime throughout the process if you notice the compost going a little dry.
Step 4: Growth
Repeat Step 3 over and over until you have unfurled the bag right to the top and the soil line is about 5cm below the top of the bag.
When the shoots emerge once more from the top line of the soil, we now finally allow them to shoot up away from the soil and to grow leaves.
Step 5: Harvest!
After about 10 weeks, give or take, the leaves will start to turn yellow and any flowers will die back. This is when your hard work will have paid off, and it’ll be time to harvest your potato plant’s tubers!!
To harvest, simply dig up your potato tubers - you can store them in the hessian sack provided. They’ll keep in a cool, dark place for approximately 10 days after harvesting, or up to 3 weeks if you just leave them in the compost bag, and dig them up as and when you’re ready to eat them!