Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)
What can you say about potatoes? It is the most popular tuber ever and perhaps the most important staple food in the Western world. Even though the potato is more commonly cultivated in large fields or generously-sized vegetable plots, it can also be easily grown on a balcony.
Potatoes come in many different varieties. In general, the early, mid-early and late potatoes differ in their planting dates and also in the way they react in the kitchen. There are floury and waxy types of potatoes.
Potatoes are not sown, tubers are planted in the ground from spring onwards. So-called seed potatoes are available to buy.
All potatoes are relatively easy to cultivate on a balcony. Triple the yield of planted potatoes by using pre-fertilised soil, enough for a tasty meal. One clever trick is to grow potatoes in a pot. Our guide shows you how.
Potatoes require a tub of at least 25 cm in diameter and height. The bigger the pot, the more potatoes you can plant and harvest later. We recommend using a peat-free, special potting soil as a suitable substrate.
Do not eat raw potatoes. The starchy vegetable tubers taste excellent when boiled, fried, grilled or as mashed potato. After harvesting, potatoes can be stored in a dry and preferably dark place for some time.
Potatoes are a low-calorie vegetable, even if it is decried as fattening. They are only fattening when cooked in fat and eaten as fried potatoes, potato pancakes or chips. On the other hand, potatoes simply boiled in their skins have few calories but all the more potassium, vitamin C and high-quality protein.
Potatoes prefer a sunny spot. They have normal water requirements but waterlogging should be avoided.
Seed potatoes can be planted (depending on variety) in the ground or in pots from mid-March. To speed up the harvest, “chit” the potatoes beforehand. To do this, place the seed potatoes in an airy and bright place four weeks before planting. Egg boxes are ideal for this. The potatoes then develop small shoots and green stems. Plant out the chitted potatoes with the young shoots and cover with soil.
Potatoes need well-drained soil for healthy growth. As soon as the first shoots start to appear, earth up each plant again by covering it with soil. Simply mound earth around the stems. This encourages the foliage to grow higher and the plant to produce more roots – for a richer harvest
Fertilise the potatoes once with Organic Multipurpose Plant Food immediately after planting the small seed potatoes.
Only fill one-third of a pot with soil initially and then add substrate little by little.
Early varieties can be harvested from the end of May. However, the main harvest time is usually in August or September when the foliage wilts and dies.