The potato chip company Calbee Inc. and a horticultural soil company jointly started selling seed potatoes and growing kits in southwest Japan’s Kyushu region on Dec. 15.
Calbee Potato Inc., headquartered in the Hokkaido city of Obihiro, and Tokyo-based Protoleaf Inc. are selling seed potatoes of the “Poroshiri” variety and “Potato Bag” soil, which they jointly developed, to grow potatoes in a bag.
They aim to let consumers casually enjoy growing potatoes at home. The products will be sold at DIY stores and garden stores only in the Kyushu region of Japan for the time being, but the companies plan to expand the retail area to the entire country according to appropriate planting periods.
Poroshiri is Calbee’s original potato variety, which took more than a decade to develop. It has been used for Calbee products such as potato chips. Extra small “SS” sized seed potatoes are being sold because the spuds are suitable for planting as they are, without cutting them. The move to sell them at DIY stores is apparently a first for the company.
Hoping to “give children opportunities to become familiar with potatoes and soil,” the company took three years to commercialize the Potato Bag. The soil contains fertilizer that potato plants need in the early stages of growth, so even horticultural novices can easily start by just planting the seed potatoes and watering them. The 12 liters of soil is light and easy to carry, and it is 100% plant-derived, so it can be discarded as a combustible waste after use. The vegetative period of the potatoes is around 120 days.