How to obtain a successful potato crop:
Last year we tried growing potatoes but got a little impatient. The potato plant grew very large and flowered, but we dug up the potatoes too early. They were pretty miniature, (suitable for a gourmet Michelin star plate of food maybe). Maybe worth trying again, but for us definitely other vegetable plants are more likely to produce a lot on the balcony. Therefore we will give potatoes a miss next year.
1. To start off, choose the potato variety you would like to grow. Early harvest potato varieties are less prone to rot and disease, so are generally more reliable. We chose the Franceline ‘second early’ red potato variety, as they are ideal for salads, but you can choose from a pretty large selection of varieties, which are described in various websites.
2. What you do next is called ‘chitting’. For this you choose 3-4 potatoes with have good visible ‘eyes’, the beginnings of potato sprouts.
3. Place the potatoes with their ‘eyes’ at the top in an old egg carton and place in a light spot (by a window) and wait for them to start sprouting.
4. Put around 40 cm of soil in a large pot or sack (~80 cm deep). Once the potatoes have sprouted and it is about 2 weeks after the last frost day (you can look this up online pretty accurately for your area) you can sow them 10 cm deep, sprouting side up, in the pot/bag.
5. As soon as the potato shoots appear above ground, bury them with more soil. Keep doing this, until you have reached the top of the pot/bag. This burying stimulates root growth, which will increase your potato yield!