‘Will crop earlier’: Alan Titchmarsh shares ‘brilliant’ bag hack for growing potatoes

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Gardening pro Alan Titchmarsh often shares his top tips for looking after indoor plants and gardens during every season. For those looking to grow their own potatoes this year, Alan has revealed a “brilliant” way to plant them. The expert has explained how to grow potatoes in a bag and has demonstrated how to chit and plant first early varieties, such as “Red Duke of York”, “Lady Christl”, “Orla” and “Rocket”.

Alan explained how growing potatoes can be done in small spaces in a video for Gardeners’ World Magazine.

Alan said: “First early new potatoes are brilliant in a small space. 

“Now, first earlies are the ones that mature most quickly and in a small space, you want a yield that comes fast, rather than waiting for absolutely months.”

He showed the camera the potatoes he was working with, which were Accents.

Alan explained how they had already been chitted.

This means that the potatoes have sprouted.

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He said: “The sooner you start, the sooner you can plant and you can plant them quite simply in a bag like this, or a growing bag if you want. 

“But the great delight about planting in this is that you can earth up.”

Alan shared a bag hack gardeners can use to grow potatoes if they have a small space.

He advised gardeners to start with a bit of compost at the bottom of the bag.

Alan said: “This is ordinary, peat-free compost and I’ve got about three or four inches in there so I’ll space out these sprouted, or chitted, seed potatoes. 

“I can get about five in there I reckon – I’m a bit greedy. 

“Some people only put three but I want as many spuds as possible so rather like the face of a five dice, there they are. 

“I’m then going to put more compost on the top, about two or three inches, making sure they’re underneath it and as soon as those shoots start to grow, I’ll be earthing up a bit more.”

He then explained that gardeners need to store them in a “sheltered place”.

Alan said: “If you’ve got a cool greenhouse and you want to get them shifting, you can put them in that. 

“A greenhouse, porch or a carport, somewhere sheltered but in good light.”

He explained that when those shoots start to appear through the surface of the compost and they get up to about three inches, add a little more all the time until it is filled about halfway up the sack because what you’re doing is making sure that those tubers don’t get to the light.

Alan warned that if the light gets to the potatoes, they’ll go green and taste “nasty”, but more importantly they’ll be “poisonous”.

Then in about eight to 10 weeks time, after the potatoes have been planted, that’s when gardeners can scrape away that compost and see what’s underneath. 



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