Tag: urban gardening

Growing potatoes in reusable shopping bags

I was chatting with my friend Amy awhile back, and she expressed a curiosity about growing potatoes in a grow bag. Of course, curiosity is contagious so I had to do a little research of my own. What I found out was that potato grow bags were a little pricey, to me anyway. So I researched a little more. Didn’t want to use garbage bags or trash cans or tires. Then I realized that I could use landscaping cloth and sew up a few, but I didn’t need to buy as much as was in the package, not for an experiment. If I spent that much I might as well buy the grow bag! So I hit on maybe using my reusable HyVee grocery bag, its black and approximately the same dimensions, just square not round, but its porous! And only cost $.99!

So, off to Earl May garden store, picked up 6 seed potatoes, on sale.

Folded down the sides at least 4 inches, filled with soil, and planted 7 “eyes” of my potatoes.

Covered them with 3″ of soil, and watered thoroughly.

We’ll see how this goes, I planted so many in each bag so in case a few questionable “eyes” don’t open.

When the plants are 8″ tall, I will add more soil, then add more again when there’s another 8″ of growth.

Oops…I sprouted!!

I love the New Year.  Its a good time to wipe the slate clean, put the past behind and start something fresh.  Like many people, I have a list of things I would like to do in this new year, not resolutions, but goals, very fluid goals.  I must not have set my goals too high, as I have accomplished three things on my list already, that’s okay, I discovered a few more to add.

One new thing I’m doing is growing sprouts.  Sue Schumacher, a fellow Coop-er and friend, turned me on to these right about the turn of the year, December 30, to be exact.  So I sent off an order to Sprouthouse.com, and received my Easy Sprouter and 2lbs of seeds, because I didn’t trust what their Holiday salad mix was, and began sprouting right away.  I ordered a pound of seed mix containing alfalfa, clover, radish and broccoli.


The directions were meandering, as in, I was looking for 1., 2., 3 etc.  So thank goodness for the internet and Google.com, lots and lots of info out there.  Sproutpeople.com, has the best information.

1.  Rinse the Easy Sprouter and all the lids and insert.

2.  Put the flat-ish bottom seed insert into the perforated inner vessel and snap into place then put the whole thing into the solid outer vessel.

3.  Pour 1/4 c of seed mix into it, and fill with room temperature water.  Let soak for at least 6 hours.

4.  Pour off some of the water, then take the inner vessel and try to get as much moisture out of it as possible.  I held it in my sink and shook briskly  down until no more drops of water fell.

5.  Tap the vessel until seeds spread out and coat the bottom third.

6.  Put back into outer vessel, rotate until its sitting up and off the bottom, cover with the dome cover and let sit away from heat and bright lights.

7.  At least twice a day, rinse  with room temp or cool water, then soak the seeds for 5-10 minutes, take care to shake the seeds dry when done soaking and rinsing.

8.  In about 3 days, you should have sprouting action, keep soaking and rinsing until the sprouts are the appropriate length for eating and have grown tiny little leaves.

9.  Your sprouts will be white and the leaves pale pale green.  Sue said to up the nutritional value, green them up by exposing them to light for about 8 hours, you will do this after they get leaves and right before you put them in the fridge.


I was able to store mine in the fridge in the container, I just made sure that it was as dry as I could get it, too much moisture and you basically are making food for the composter.  Sue stores her sprouts, rinsed and in a paper towel lined ziplock.

The difference between my home grown sprouts and the store purchased was huge!  If I could have everyone who has ever had a bad sprout experience taste these homegrown ones, they would be hooked.  They were crunchy, fresh and darn near addicting.   I began to want to put them on everything.  One of my favorite snacks became crackers, with Laughing Cow Light garlic and herb spread, with a pile of sprouts on top.  My second favorite was hummus, cucumber,  and greek yogurt on flatbread with sprouts.  I was sad when I finished my first batch and immediately began sprouting another one.

I don’t have any concerns with salmonella, as I am pretty clean about my sprouts, but I do want to caution about letting them sit in a too warm enviroment, as you could start to grow mold or fungus.  My kitchen is pretty chilly, and they grew anyway, so they don’t really need much warmth and light.  Cooler temps and dimness seems to be the way to go.  I remember my mother sprouting mung beans in a glass pickle jar in the cupboard!  Which is another DIY way, but I decided to buy the kit.

Lots of information available online in regards to the nutritional value of sprouts, but Sue made a compelling statement when she said its a good way to get your greens in the winter, home grown and as local as your kitchen counter.