Chitting for the first time!

I love growing potatoes in the garden and delight in creating Nev’s special potato salad from a freshly harvested crop. Unusually this year I have decided to have a go a chitting my seed potatoes. For those of you that have not come across this weird horticultural term – chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting. In essence this is all about getting the tubers growing earlier which in turn encourages them to produce earlier allowing me to harvest (and gorge) earlier.

Chitting is so easy – in January or February six weeks before you intend to plant the potatoes simply get an old egg box and stand the blunt end of the tubers (where the ‘eyes’ are)  upright in the egg carton and then store in a cool place with plenty of natural light. I’ve put mine in the garden shed. The tubers will be ready to plant out once the shoots that sprout from the ‘eyes’ are about 1.5cm to 2.5cm long.

The variety I have chosen to plant this year is Home Guard, a first early variety which, when planted out in late February will be ready to harvest in May. As usual I will be planting half in the part of our allotment that has had a liberal dose of our fantastic sol improver added to it and the other half in the ‘non Wonderpost part of the allotment. I’m also going to experiment with only chitting half of the tubers as well to see exactly what difference this process makes to the harvesting time.

Look out for my next blog and video when I show you how to plant potatoes.