Growing potatoes in bags seems to be a popular thing this year. Our sack of eaters we had from our farmer were already ready to sprout when he gave them to us – we could always plant them, he suggested.
We haven’t grown much veg the last couple of years, for one reason or another, and we never did grow spuds; all those blight susceptible things just seemed too problematical. However, when there seemed to be a lot of talk about potato bags, I thought I’d try it. We always overbuy on compost, so we had plenty of that about, and the aforesaid sprouty potatoes, and then there are these woven plastic sacks which the Royal Mail in the UK sometimes generously and unnecessarily supply us with, usually with an already perfectly adequately wrapped small parcel containing a book inside. They’ve always looked like they ought to be reusable, but we hadn’t yet thought what for.
So all the components were already in our possession. I put some straw in the bottom ( another thing we still have in abundance from our long-past days of keeping hens), a layer of compost, five or six of the most promising sprouty spuds, and then more compost. I watered them well and stood them on the terrace.
After a bit some green plants came up. You let them grow and then earth them up with some more compost, unrolling the bag top as you go. This bit always reminds me of a family anecdote about an old Norfolk man who saw someone somewhere whom my parents knew earthing up his potatoes and asked ‘ Are ye moulderin arn her up?’
Here they are at a fairly early stage of their growth.
I repeated this maybe four times, then left them to grow. When the plant, it’s called a haulm, goes manky yellow and dies back, after two or three months, you can harvest them. Which we did today.
Large quantities of compost were shaken out into the wheelbarrow, with nary a sign of a tater, but then towards the bottom they started to show themselves. In all there were just on two kilos, four and a bit pounds, which wasn’t much for all the volume of compost, but they were clean and look good.
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