OK Gonna try potatoe bags Can I use those bags for Walmart or Pub

smittee(central florida)February 4, 2010

I really want to grow a FEW potatoes. I have never grown them before. My son in law took on little red spud from my vegitable bin, chopped it into 3 pieces and in a few weeks we had enought spuds for a big bowl of potatoe salad. I was amazed. He said there was only 3 plants..one from each chunk plant he planted.

I've read about the potatoe bags. I have at least a half dozen of those Walmart bags. Yes, I know they are small but they are also only .50 and I dont know how many Publix bags we have..and I believe in recycling. Can I use them for spuds? If not why? If I can, will someone give me a simple set of instructions.

NEXT, does any one know where I can get some seed potatoes..I would love to have some Yukon Gold and some of those potatoes that are blue on the outside only as well as some that are blue when cut. I went to seed the catologues and they want 10 bucks for 2 lbs..If I bought some or each of the 4 varietes that I want [red ones too] It would cost me 40 dollars, plus shipping and handling.

THAT SHOOTS my spud project right out of the ball park. I only want one of each potatoe variety. 2 at most. I called our local feed store they only have the reds [he responded like he was talking to a crazy women when I asked about blue spuds] and home depot and lowes have none [lol that is why I didn't capitalize them hehe]

The ones my son-un-law [ daughters fiancee] planted were from my produce basket. L and HD have red, yellow and white onions,and scallions, but NO SPUDS

whod a thunk spuds would be so hard to find. lol.

I have called and called looking for some one that has them and will sell them by the pound.

I live between Winter Haven and Lakeland in Auburndale[POLK COUNTY FLORIDA]. If anyone knows where I can buy some little roundish items called potatoes without morgaging my house, please let me know.

FYI...Yesterday I Planted in my self watering buckets, lettuce and carrots, they are close to my door so I can grab them if it get to cold. My plan is to plant a buckful every two or three weeks so I can keep rotating them. I planted each bucket half carrots and half lettuce.

I do admit I have no idea what I am doing.

I emprovised my buckets from a You-tube video that I saw.


I cut the top off two, one gallon milk jugs. I stuffed them in the bucket open side down, I took the flavored water bottles with the wide openingS, which I cut off too, [those seem to be a bit heavier then water bottles] I stuffed as many of them as I could upside down in every open space. One bottle I cut only the bottom off and I moved about a half inch up from the bottom [leaving the bottom on gave it more stability] there I cut a wide hole about 3" wide and about4" tall and place into the bucket with that open door face the outer wall of the bucket so the soil had less of a chance of blocking the opening. Once in the bucket, I placed a water bottle upside down into the bottle I just mentioned. I cut the bottom off the extends about a half to one inch above the rim. This is my watering access.

Then I put my potting mixture in slowly shaking the bucket so the mix slipped into the few spaces that were left after filling bucket with bottles. This little bits of soil become my wicking system.

I also added 5 dime size holes in the bucket itself, at the level of the top of the upside down gallon jugs. This will allow any excess water to drain off. I am using Lowes buckets at about $2.50 each, everything else is free and recycled.. 2- gallon milk jugs and about 4 to 6 bottles. I was given a recipe for soil = 7 parts peat, 2 parts perlite and 1 part vermiculite. I am using that also to start my seeds in and it is seems to be doing a great job.

I am a novice at all of this, but my health REQUIRES That I go the bucket route AND my WALLET require that I improvise and be somewhat creative. I am averaging about 4 buckets prepared a week. So far no visable negative results.

I am very grateful for CONTRUCTIVE ADVICE. BUT.. dont KNOCK IT till you try it...

You are ALL [so far without exception] the greatest group of people in this whole country. This is includes the great group in Washington state TOO. Words cannot express the deep appreciation that is in my heart. I have lost 90% of my mobility and all yalls encouragement is what has kept my nose above water. [figuratively speaking] THANKS

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I bury my potato peels (they are supposed to attract worms). I have spuds sprouting up all over the place. I don't think you need to buy seed potatoes. I could be wrong since I always pull them out before they have much chance to grow.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 12:34PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Smittee

If your son in law was successful, you should follow what he did and what he used to grow them.

I would not use regular potatoes since I don't know what they are sprayed with to avoid sprouting. If you want to use store bought potatoes, look for the organic ones.

As of a container, I think small bags won't hold that much. You can also use plastic containers.

Potatoes today

Potatoes in the plastic container

They are almost ready for harvest. In my experience, potatoes are best when grown during the cooler months.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 3:25PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Silvia, I think I'll try some next year. How cold does it have to be before you start them? And, which ones grow the quickest...here in zone 10 I may have a short season. I'm going to try them in my 3.5 gallon terra-buckets (my nickname for my double bucket systems), wicking the water out of the mix since you say they don't like wet feet.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:07PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Tom, I get my potato seeds from Ronniger potato farm, as soon as they become available.
They were planted November 19. The best varieties for a short season are the fingerlings also some of the tastiest!
My local feed store has red and Yukon Gold varieties. Yukon Gold is an early variety.
I have all blue,all red, rose, russian and french fingerlings, yukon gold and my favorite that is a late variety german butterball.
All the potatoes are good, and every year I try something different.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:47PM
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i grew mine in the ground last year. just kept planting potatoes with swollen eyes from the basket in the kitchen. the frosts zapped them over and over, but they'd pop right back. i harvested a big bucket-worth of russian fingerling, red potatoes and yukon golds. this winter, following silvia's advice, i've been planting them in nursery pots--starting with just an inch of old potting soil on the bottom, then kitchen taters on top of that, and adding soil and/or spoilt hay on top. mine look like silvia's, maybe a bit larger. it's a great way to use up all the old potting mix. the hay keeps it light and airy.

when the freezes hit in december, i stacked all the pots atop one another, then laid them down (lengthwise). after the freeze, i popped them out and the leaves were virtually untouched.

i agree that they're a winter crop, but i harvested my last potatoes mid-april last year... so, you got time if you wanna start 'em now.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 8:24PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Michael, nice looking potatoes!

I am glad that your potatoes are doing good after the freeze. I was bad not protecting well, I used a very thin fabric to cover them, that did not help and they were frozen. All the foliage on the pictures is the new growth after the freeze, like you said for sure they spring back quickly.

For anybody looking for organic blue potatoes or fingerlings locally sometimes Whole Foods carries them, the blue ones are called peruvian blue, before you make the trip call them.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 7:33AM
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smittee(central florida)

Whole Foods, is that the name of the store?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:17AM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

Whole Foods is a grocery store that carries a lot of natural organic produce and potatoes bought from them and used as seeds should be great. Linda

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:44AM
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i've had great luck with the banana/finglerling potatoes from publix, sold in net bags as 'florida-grown potatoes.' (look around the regular potato bins.)

they have reliably sprouted--i eat the big uns and plant the wee uns. the fact that they're grown in fla means (this time of year) that they're fresh and not treated.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 12:15PM
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Great advice about the potatoes - thanks! I like the fingerlings and think I'll give that a try.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 2:43PM
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If someone wants to get a late start growing potatoes, check out a local central Fla. WalMart. I saw bags of seed potatoes in the WalMart in Daytona today. There were several varieties, Red Pontiac, fingerling...

I didn't do well with potatoes this year. My grocery store bought sprouted potatoes are still in the spare refrig. I forgot all about them. As Sivlia would say "Me bad".

Siliva and Michael, I haven't tried to grow fingerlings. Thanks for the idea.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 3:24PM
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johnjsr(9A DeLand)

To answer your question (and mine) as to whether the Publix canvas bags are large enough to grow vegetables, I measured one. They will hold as much as a five gallon bucket. I was surprised. I'm giving them a try.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 4:54PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

John, are you using the white bags? I'd be concerned about the dyes and chemicals in the other colors....

Michael, you really think it's not too late to try fingerlings in Zone 10? I need for you and Silvia to tell me again exactly how you're doing this. If there's only an inch or two in the bottom with hay or straw on top are you laying the fingerlings on their sides, and how long before you put down another inch or two of soil and more hay/straw? The whole potato or just part of the spud? So many questions, so little time....I've noticed buds on the trees here already so I've got to get cracking with the maters, peppers and cucurbits....


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 7:21PM
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tom, here's how i'm doing it (first time in pots, but i'm pretty sure it'll work): i start with an inch or so of old mix in the bottom of a medium (3g) nursery pot. just toss a couple fingerlings right on top of the soil. they like sun to get sprouted. don't overwater (key in general for tubers). as soon as they put up some green growth, i've tossed a handful of straw and a handful of soil. every few days i do the same--basically covering with hay, then filling in the gaps in the straws with soil. the sprouts grow quickly, so the pots are full in a month. i'm using corners of the garden, so it's not like i've got anything to lose, right? like i said, here in z9 i harvested the last of my potatoes mid-april, but i could have easily left them in longer. i needed the space. sooner or later the bugs will get too bad, i guess. i was pleased to see that they had zero nematode damage when i harvested...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:09PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Tom, you know there are a lot of different roads that lead to the same destination. Maybe you can come up with another.lol

Here is what I do, fill about 6 inches of mixed potting soil with pine bark fines, put the potatoes on top, if large cut them make sure you have the eye and if small I leave them whole.

Put more soil on top of the potatoes, about the same amount 6 inches I don't wait for greening or anything.

Once I start getting the plants I start to add hay or more soil, It is not exact science here you can use more or less, At the end my container was full about 1/3, now it is almost full to the top. When the foliage start to decline and look a little bit yellow, I harvest.

We have to get the most planting done before the heat arrive and with it all the insect population. Start maybe with few potatoes of the fingerlings. If you buy few bags you can sample even before you plant them and fresh are even better.

I have a book with me Florida fruit and vegetable gardening by Robert Bowden 2010 it says here in North and Central Florida plant potatoes from January through March. In South Florida from September to January, does not give zones.

Let us know if you decide to do this project and how it comes out and don't delay your hot weather veggies!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 7:16AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I have a book with me Florida fruit and vegetable gardening by Robert Bowden 2010 it says here in North and Central Florida plant potatoes from January through March. In South Florida from September to January, does not give zones.

Thanks Silvia, your statement confirms my thought that it's really too late for Zone 10. I'll try next year.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 7:38AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Tom, sweet potatoes are good! and you are on time for those.
I am still eating my sweet potatoes that are stored in the closet. After the potato harvest, I will put the sweets in the bags.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 8:38AM
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johnjsr(9A DeLand)

"John, are you using the white bags? I'd be concerned about the dyes and chemicals in the other colors.... "

Good point. Heres what they (Greenbag Inc) say... "Is made from non-toxic, non-corrosive materials and safe color-fast dyes".

I'm interested in these for several reasons, drainage, cooling and cost. I know they drain well, I don't think you could ever fill one with a garden hose. The upside down tomato bag I tried last spring stayed cool and it was black. The ones from Publix are a buck and I hear W mart's are cheaper. So I'll give it a try.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 10:33AM
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fwiw i checked out the seed potatoes at walmart--$5 for a couple pounds of potatoes. i think you'd be better off buying banana/fingerling potatoes from publix. the majority of mine (maybe all) sprouted quickly, and since they're smaller, they reach maturity quickly. plus, the organic banana potatoes cost like $7 so it's worth it to grow your own.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 12:36PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

To those looking for seed potatoes check your local feed store, last time I asked they were so cheap! I think they said a pound for less than a $1, I think they said 45 cents?

Those Walmart and Publix bags would also be great for tomatoes and peppers.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 1:31PM
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smittee(central florida)

I wonder if anyone has ever tried growing something other them spuds in bags. FYI.. I found purple mini's that come from Pasco Washington state at publix in Lakeland as well as yellow klondike that come from Idaho as well as little reds also from Idaho..

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 1:25AM
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Thanks to all for this thread.

I have my seed potatoes and my dirt. I will get a small bale of hay from the corner feed store tomorrow.

I bought three bags at Chuck's Natural Food this morning, THEN I went to Aldi. Their bags are twice as large! for $2. I got two and am planting tomorrow. Thanks for all the encouragement, Buds.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 5:16PM
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I just picked up 4 Potato bags at Publix (Buy 3, get one free) They are 8 x 12 x 12...5 gal size. Also picked up a bag of purple pot's (already have some reds) and will start them tomorrow...Thanks for all the tips!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 7:47PM
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Dear Spud Buds,

My potato bags are looking great. The plants are starting to flower. Should I harvest?

The plants looks healthy and green with no yellowing.

I've written a reminder on the November page of my calendar for starting the winter crop. So nice to have a success!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 12:27AM
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jwahlton(9B Kisimee)

What are pine bark fines? I bought a bag of fingerling potatoes and put some in two of those recycled bags. I put soil, pine thingies (kind of like hay), layed the potatoes on top, then a little more soil. I don't know what I'm doing with these, but thought I'd give it a try.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 10:48AM
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