How to Grow Potatoes in a Bag

Growing potatoes in a bag is the perfect way to get fresh spuds, even if you don’t have a garden. All you need is soil, potatoes, and a warm space with access to sunlight. With these ingredients, along with some TLC, you should be on your way to a bountiful harvest!

EditSteps
EditPlanting the Potatoes
Wait until the spring to plant your potatoes. Before you begin the process, it’s important to make sure the danger of frost has passed. Most potatoes should be planted between March and April. However, you can start as early as February, as long as you have a safe place to store the bag, such as a greenhouse or conservatory.[1]
Consult The Old Farmer’s Almanac website if you are unsure of local frost dates.[2]

Find a warm, sunny spot for the grow bag. You want to pick a spot with the most access to sunlight and rainfall. You should make sure that your potatoes get at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. This will ensure that your grow bag has a maximum yield.
Keeping your grow bag on a patio or balcony is a good way to keep it safe from curious animals.

Chit your seed potatoes. Give your potatoes a head start by allowing them to sprout before planting. This process, called “chitting,” encourages faster growth and fuller harvests. In order to chit your potatoes, place them in a empty egg box or seed tray and leave them in a warm environment for approximately 4 weeks.
Once they have begun to sprout, you can cut the potatoes into smaller chunks, or simply plant them whole.[3]

Make sure your soil contains a healthy mixture of compost and topsoil. In general, you should aim for a 60/40 ratio of compost to topsoil. Find a wheelbarrow or tub that can hold all your soil at once. Next, dump your soil into the container and mix thoroughly. You should only use about ⅓ of the soil on planting day. Set aside the rest to use throughout the growth process.
Potato fertilizer is optional but recommended for a maximum yield.[4]

Fill the bag with of soil mix. You can find grow bags at most hardware or garden supply stores. Fold down the edge of the bag until you have an approximately cuff. Pour in your soil mixture until its about deep. Next, spread the potatoes evenly across the surface. Cover with an additional of soil before watering.[5]

EditCaring for the Potatoes
Add soil as needed. When your potatoes have grown approximately , you know it’s time to add more soil. Unfold the edge of the bag and add an additional of your soil/compost mix. As the plants grow, gently repeat this process until the soil level reaches just below the top of the bag.

Water the bag regularly. It’s important to keep your soil moist but not saturated. Although, occasional heavy watering is better than regular light watering as the water needs to get all the way down to the lower roots. During the summer it may be necessary to water the plants daily to prevent the soil from drying up.[6] Pay close attention to watering and your plant should grow into the summer.

Watch out for pests. You should monitor your potatoes regularly to prevent pesky insects from laying their eggs. The most common culprit is the Colorado potato beetle. Make sure to check your foliage for tiny clusters of yellow eggs. If you find any on your plants, simply pick them off with your hand and place them in a bucket of soapy water. [7]
Potato Blight can be a problem for later yielding crops. You can protect against this fungal disease with a Vitax Bourdeau Mixture, a traditional, protective fungicide, available in the ‘pest control’ section of your local hardware or garden supply store.

EditHarvesting the Potatoes
Harvest the early varieties of potato first. These potatoes should be harvested first as they do not store well. These potatoes are best harvested in small quantities and eaten when fresh. First and second earlies are best harvested during June-July, when the flowers are fully mature and open.[8]
Use a small spade or garden fork to gently remove the potatoes. You don’t want to be too intrusive or you run the risk of interrupting the growth process for your main crop.

Wait for the leaves to wither. Main crop varieties can be harvested from September onwards. However, towards the end of the season you will begin to notice the leaves turn yellow and begin to wither. At this point, you can stop the watering process. Leave the potatoes for another week or so before harvesting.

Dump the bag. Once your potatoes are ready to harvest, dump the entire bag into a wheelbarrow or tub. Dig through the soil to find your potatoes. A regular grow bag holds around and should yield at least of potatoes. After you’re finished, add the soil to your garden or compost.[9]
If the weather is dry, allow the potatoes to sit, unwashed for 2-3 days. This curing step allows the skin to mature and will protect your potatoes during storage.[10]
Clean out the bag and store it away until next year.

Store your potatoes. After harvesting, let your spuds dry out in a cool, dry area. Once they are dry, the potatoes can be stored in a hessian or mesh sack. Avoid storing them in a plastic bag as the potatoes will “sweat” and begin to rot.
Store potatoes separate from onions and fruit. These give off ethylene gas that can cause your potatoes to sprout prematurely.

Store your potatoes in the dark. Prolonged exposure to light can cause a chemical build up that will cause potatoes to turn green and produce a bitter taste. This has been known to cause illness if consumed in large quantities.[11]

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Today in History for 3rd May 2019

Historical Events

1943 – US 1st armour division occupies Mateur Tunisia
1943 – Strike against obligatory labor camps ends, after 200 killed
1944 – “Meet Me in St Louis” opens on Broadway
1960 – Musical “Fantasticks” by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, premieres in NYC (world’s longest running musical)
1965 – Cambodia drops diplomatic relations with the US
1997 – 42nd Eurovision Song Contest: Katrina and the Waves for United Kingdom wins singing “Love Shine a Light” in Dublin

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Famous Birthdays

1913 – Earl Blackwell, American society impresario (Celebrity Register), born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1995)
1916 – Pierre Emmanuel [Noël Mathieu], French poet (Sodome), born in Gan, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France (d. 1984)
1942 – Věra Čáslavská, Czech gymnast (7 Olympic gold 1964, 68), born in Prague, Czechoslovakia (d. 2016)
1949 – Ron Wyden, American politician, U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon (1981-96), born in Wichita, Kansas
1960 – Amy Steel, American actress (April Fool’s Day), born in Pennsylvania
1971 – James Roberson, American football defensive end (Rhein Fire), born in Bartow, Florida

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1758 – Benedict XIV, [Prospero L Lambertini], Pope (1740-58), dies at 83
1863 – Elisha Franklin “Bull” Paxton, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies at 35
1893 – Josef Rudolf Zavrtal, composer, dies at 73
1921 – Théodore Pilette, Belgian racing driver, dies at 36
1991 – Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Egyptian singer and composer (b. 1907)
2008 – Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, Spanish former Primer Minister (b. 1926)

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How to Research the Market Before Launching a Product or Service

Conducting market research is crucial if you’re planning on launching a new product or service. For starters, you’ll need to learn about your likely customers, ensure there’s demand for your product or service, and figure out how to appeal to consumers. Additionally, study your industry at large, and figure out how to stand out from the competition. Finally, since launching a product or service is a risky endeavor, try to anticipate challenges, and use your research to devise ways to tackle any problems that arise.

EditSteps
EditResearching Your Target Customers
Gather demographic information about your consumer base. Learn about your likely audience’s age, location, gender, income level, and other details. Gather data from reliable sources, such as government agencies, universities, industry organizations, and trade publications. For instance, you can find plenty of useful demographic information on your government’s census website.[1]
Demographic information can help you figure out who your consumer base is and how to appeal to them.

If you want to open a coffee shop, for example, researching prospective locations’ median income and foot traffic can help you choose the right spot for your business.

Design surveys to learn about consumers’ needs. Study how consumers buy products or services similar to your own and what factors go into their decision-making process. Keep your surveys short, simple, and straightforward. If possible, offer an incentive for completing the survey, such as a coupon for your product or service.[2]
Good survey questions include “When choosing which product to buy, which is more important: price or quality,” and “Rank the following list of product features in order of importance, where 1 is most important and 5 is least important.”

You can use an inexpensive survey hosting website to conduct the survey, hire a market research firm, or administer it yourself.

If you choose to administer it yourself, you can post it on your social media pages. If you already operate an existing business, conduct the survey through its social media accounts and mailing lists.

Find out what kind of messaging resonates with your audience. Investigate where and how you should advertise your product or service. You’ll need to learn details like the websites your target customer browses and whether your marketing materials should appeal to logic or emotion. Either ask potential customers directly through surveys or look online for published market research.[3]
Try searching online for university research studies and trade publications on marketing trends related to your product or service.

Suppose you’re a pet groomer and are launching a new boarding service. You’d want to place your ads at strategic spots like pet-related websites or a billboard that overlooks a dog park.

Your ads also need to convince your audience that your product or service is worth their trust and money. To resonate with your consumer base, for instance, your pet boarding ads need to showcase expertise, reliability, and safe, clean facilities.

Conduct focus groups and trials to refine your product or service. Recruit participants to test your product or service at a focus group or on a trial basis at their home. Have them offer feedback on their experiences, and use that information to make any necessary improvements.[4]
Testing your product or service can help you prevent hiccups when you actually launch it. You can hire an outside party to conduct focus groups, or recruit participants through social media or your business’s network, if you already operate one.

EditAnalyzing Your Industry
Research businesses competing for your target customers. Find out which other businesses sell products or services similar to your own. Figure out how saturated your market is and how many options consumers have at their disposal. Use that information to decide whether there’s enough demand for you to enter the market.[5]
For instance, if you’re opening a hair salon and there are already 4 salons in a neighborhood, it may be hard for you to be competitive in that location.

Investigate pricing and profit margins in your industry. Look into price ranges for products or services of comparable quality as your own. Accounting for parts, supplies, labor, and other costs, make sure you can price your product or service competitively and still make a profit.[6]
For example, suppose you make jewelry and want to sell it online. If parts for a piece of jewelry cost $15, you spent 4 hours making it, and you set your hourly wage at $15, the item’s price needs to be at least $75 ($15 times 4 hours is $60, plus $15 for parts).

If similar products are significantly less expensive, you could find ways to make your parts cheaper, such as buying in bulk. You could also market your work as exceptional or unique (perhaps your jewelry is made of sea glass from the Amalfi coast), or settle for a lower wage or profit margin.

Study your competitors’ brands to differentiate your business. Review your competitors’ branding, and look for ways you can stand out from the crowd. Establish who your business is, what promises you’re making to consumers, and how you’re different from other brands.[7]
Suppose you want to open a brewery. To set your business apart, you could include a pub and bottle shop that sells a wide variety of beer and wine. While all the neighboring breweries just offer tours and tastings, you could market your brand as a destination that offers something consumers can’t find elsewhere.

A company’s brand tells a consumer base who it is and what it offers. A branding strategy communicates that identity through marketing materials, from hashtags to billboards.

Identify your industry’s key performance indicators. You’ll need measurable, objective standards in order to track your business’s progress. These standards are called key performance indicators, and they vary by industry. Learn about how businesses in your industry measure their success by tracking factors such as unique website clicks, profit margins, cost of goods sold, and customer retention rates.[8]
For example, a restaurant’s beer, wine, and spirits cost should be about 20% of its beverage sales ($20 of product should generate $100 in sales). If your bistro’s alcohol costs are 29%, you’ll need to take steps to improve your performance, such as adjusting your pricing or conducting thorough inventory checks.

Search online, check trade publications, or talk to an experienced business owner in your network about your industry’s specific performance measurements.

EditAssessing Your Risk
Evaluate the reliability of your suppliers and distributors. Identify where you’ll source any parts or supplies you’ll need and how you’ll deliver your product or service to consumers. Make sure you’ll have a consistent supply chain, and try to anticipate any problems that could arise. Come up with back-up plans ahead of time in case you need to deal with unforeseen supply chain issues.[9]
Suppose you’re launching a new hot sauce and your recipe depends on a specific dried chili pepper. You’ll need to know where to source that specialty product, where you can get it if your primary source falls through, how long it takes to order and receive it, the pepper’s shelf life, and how you’ll store back stock.

Look up the laws and regulations related to your business. Inevitably, your business will need to comply with one regulation or another, so familiarize yourself with all laws that govern your industry. Additionally, use your research to create contingency plans in the event you run into a compliance issue.[10]
For example, your hot sauce could get recalled due to faulty packaging, or your pub could fail a health inspection. Knowing packaging standards or health codes in advance can help you prevent issues and promptly resolve any accidents that happen along the way.

Create a list of outside forces and events that could affect your industry. Thinking about what could go wrong isn’t fun, but it’s important to be realistic about risk. From weather and natural disasters to economic downturn, research the likelihood of forces beyond your control that could threaten your business. Do your best to create strategies to minimize your risk and respond to any outside threats.[11]
For example, tense political conditions in the country where your hot sauce’s chili peppers grow could threaten your production.

Say your state’s legislature has been debating a bill that would raise taxes on the product you’re launching. Consider how that would affect your bottom line and whether you could afford to stay in business if it passed.

EditTips
Search online for helpful local or national government resources for small business owners. For example, in the U.S., visit https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business or, if you live in Canada, check out https://canadabusiness.ca/business-planning/market-research-and-statistics.

Your state, province, or national small business administration may also offer free services to help you learn about your consumer base, understand your industry, and minimize your risk.

EditRelated wikiHows
Write a Target Market Analysis

Do Qualitative Research

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