First of all I should mention that I store my potatoes in an old fashioned Potato and Onion bin. If you don't have one of these you need to read here why I love mine and why you need one! Yes, the potatoes did sprout and the onions sometimes do too but nothing ever spoils in that thing! This is one of those old fashioned items that I just don't understand why people quit using.
Back to the potatoes...I apparently had ignored them for so long that some of the sprouts were over a foot long! I actually had to cut the mesh bag to get them out without breaking the sprouts off. After I got them out of the bag I cut them into chunks and let them dry out for 2 days.
I grabbed some empty feed bags and after cutting a few holes in the bottoms of each bag for drainage, I filled them with about 6" of soil and compost mix and put them in a full sun area of the garden. I placed a few potatoes sprout side up in each bag. Normally I put another 2" of soil and compost mixture on top of them, but some of these sprouts were so long they needed a bit more then that!
Roll the bag down so it's only a few inches taller then the dirt and then water them. You want the the soil moist but not wet. As the potato plants grow you'll want to add a few more inches of dirt every few weeks unrolling the bag a little more each time. This mimics the traditional hilling method of potato growing. Keep going till the bag is almost full, adding more compost and unrolling the bag each time.
When the leaves start to die off you're about ready to harvest. Stop watering and wait about 2 weeks for the leaves to dry out completely. At this point I usually cut a slit in the bottom of each bag to let moisture out in case it rains.
To harvest potatoes simply tip the bag over and split it open with a knife. You'll have to root around in the dirt a little to get all the potatoes, but it's much easier then digging them out of the ground with a shovel!
The first year I did this I was surprised to find a lot of worms in the bag and the soil was super dark. Apparently a few made it into the bag when I added the soil and they were just having a good old time reproducing and making worm poop soil! Oh, and if you have chickens, they love helping when you harvest potatoes...so many worms!
I have read that you shouldn't plant grocery store potatoes as there is a risk of introducing diseases to your garden. That's just another reason why I like this method as it keeps the plants contained and not in contact with the rest of the garden. I never have grown grocery store potatoes before though...so, wish me luck?
Shared at: Create, Bake, Grow & Gather Pretty Pintastic Party Simple Saturdays Blog Hop Good Morning Mondays Dishing It & Digging It The Art Of Homemaking Mondays Tuesday's With A Twist The Homestead Blog Hop To Grandma's House We Go! The Homesteader Hop Simple Homestead Hop Home & Garden Thursday