Potatoes for Survival Gardening–It’s in the Bag!

Most of my gardening is done in containers. It amazes some people that I’ve grown potatoes in three or five gallon buckets of soil. They just can’t imagine doing anything other than growing directly in the ground the conventional way. This year I’m trying a couple of other experimental methods of growing potatoes, and shortly I’ll tell you about one of those methods.

Some may argue that It’s not worth growing potatoes at all, since they can be had inexpensively at the grocery store. Survival Sam would say such people don’t have the survival attitude. When you grow your own potatoes, you can grow any variety you care to, and you don’t have to worry about whether your potatoes are grown safely and naturally.

Thankfully, potatoes are easy to grow and don’t have to be confined to being grown in the ground. That means they can be grown anywhere. Furthermore, since they’ll produce new tubers along their stems, soil or compost can be piled up as high as you can put it. That’s what makes them so great for a survival gardening situation.

I’ve heard of stacking up old tires and filling them in with soil or compost as the potato plants grow higher. At the end of the season, the tires are unstacked to get at the potatoes. I’ve also heard of growing potatoes in a compost container made of chicken wire and heaping up the compost as the plants grow. But what about growing them in grow bags? That’s one small experiment I’m trying this season.

I’ve got three five-gallon black grow bags partly filled with soil made mostly of coir. Coir is simply ground coconut shells. I like it because it has the consistency of brown sugar, and fertilizer mixes in well. I’ve put one potato in each bag, made sure the potatoes are well covered, and rolled down the sides of each bag. I’ll add more soil and unroll the bags as the plants grow.

Incidentally, these bags are sitting in a black tray originally meant for mixing concrete. This allows for bottom watering. The soil in the bags will soak up the shallow level of water I poured into the tray. All I have to do is keep an eye on things so the potatoes don’t get too wet or dry.

Growing potatoes in bags is quite simple, saves space, and will allow for easy harvest later. Plus, there’s no Digging or Hilling Required. Just don’t let them get too wet.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.