This tuber, often used as a filling side dish, originally comes from South America and was brought to Europe in the 16th century. Potatoes are among the most popular foods precisely because the tubers can be prepared in many different ways. We give you an overview of the different varieties and tips on how to grow them with ease.
How it works
Some potatoes can be pre-sprouted from March onwards. To do this, simply place the tubers in an open tray and put it in a dark place. The sprouting time drops as the temperature increases. 10 to 15 °C is ideal. Then the potato plants can be put in a loose and weed-free soil in April after three to six weeks' sprouting time when the weather is mild and dry.
A groove can be made with a planting string, in which a potato is planted every 30 cm. The plants have enough space to spread out if the rows are spaced about 70 cm apart. It also better to dry off the plants in wet conditions to prevent diseases.
The crop plants should not freeze once they have sprouted from the soil. Once they reach a growth height of about 15 cm, the plant rows should be ridged up using the earth in the spaces between the rows. Prevent light from reaching the tubers so that green patches with a high solanine content don't develop on the potatoes. This also ensures a rich harvest.
Garden centres now sell special two-layer plant pots that you can use to grow potatoes on your balcony. One pot has recesses that make it easy to remove the ripe tubers. This pot is placed in a normal plant pot. When planting in tubs, you just need to make sure that there is no waterlogging. To do this, place clay fragments or gravel in the pot and then pour in growing soil. It is also useful to ridge the soil later on.
There is no specific reason why the potato is given female names. There is speculation that the names were derived from the feminine form of the potato in many languages. Some people believe that growers named potatoes after their wife or daughter.
'Plant Doctor' René Wadas
Potatoes can be subdivided into different categories depending on their early to late harvesting times. The starch and protein content determines the consistency of the cooked potato. What's more, the pulp and the skin can be yellow, red, violet, blue or black and the shape can be round, elongated or curved, depending on variety. Generally speaking, the older varieties are the most aromatic. We have compared the most common varieties:
Early potato varieties
'Sieglinde', 'Alexandra', 'Annabelle', 'Nicola', 'Princess', 'La Ratte'
Middle potato varieties
'Ramona', 'Cilena', 'Annalena', 'Angeliter Tannenzapfen'
Late potato varieties
'Rosa Tannenzapfen', 'Linda'
'Ackersegen', 'Agria', 'Afra'