Why did my potato bag become a compost bag?

Asked January 25, 2017, 8:46 AM EST

I acquired a burlap bag last year to grow potatoes. I planted a half dozen seed potatoes in the bottom, and covered with a mixture of soil and compost (mostly mulched leaf compost because I read that potatoes do not like a lot of nitrogen). As the green tops grew taller, I continued to add soil/compost and I kept the soil moist by watering regularly. It would slump to the side a little when I watered it, so I staked around it to keep from toppling. I kept filling until my bag was between 3-4 feet tall with soil. I still had sufficient green on top, and flowers. In fact it looked GREAT! I did not wait until the tops died back (I think I was supposed to). It just seemed like something should have been long enough to get something! So I started taking it apart. There were short roots attached to the green, but not all the way to the bottom. I had NO potatoes...could not even find my seed potatoes...just a bag of soil/compost. Any idea what happened? Did I try to make it too tall?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

There may be a myriad of reasons why your potato planting didn't go well.
In general, this isn't the best growing method, and others are a better way to go.
Seed potatoes are planted 3 inches deep, and you do wait until the plants lean and dieback before harvesting. Compare what you did to the cultural requirements for potato planting at the following link. It is the potato profile page from the Grow It Eat It portion of our website, which is dedicated to organic vegetable growing:
You will also see videos there where multiple planting methods were done, along with the results of each method.

Try again this year. Homegrown potatoes are delicious!