Friday, 8 August 2014

How to chit potatoes

Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting. Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of 'eyes' or stubs. These will each grow a stem. Start chitting from mid-winter or about six weeks before you intend to plant out the potatoes. This stimulates the production of new shoots and kick starts the potato out of it normal dormancy and reduce the time until cropping from anywhere between 1 and 2 months.  I put my potato 'seeds' or little potatoes in an egg carton that is in a warm and dry place with medium sunlight.
  • These are royal blue seed potatoes (small potatoes saved from last year)
  • Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light.
  • The potatoes are ready to be planted out when the shoots are 1.5-2.5cm long.
  • Plant your chitted potatoes when the soil has started to warm up.
  • Add a light sprinkling of fertiliser to your trench before you begin planting. 
  • These potatoes are about 1-2 weeks off being ready to plant.
  • I have family members that believe you can cut a large potato into 2 halves if there are stems on both ends. However this can sometimes reduce the productivity of that potato plant. I am trying both ways this year, some cut in half and some not.
  • Potatoes like plenty of sun, so avoid planting them in frost-prone sites.
  • Start by digging a trench 7.5-13cm deep. Keep the removed soil to the side, as you will need it to cover the potato plants once they start to grow to avoid the potatoes turning green and poisonous.
  • If you're starting up a vegetable plot on very weedy ground or old grassland, potatoes may help swamp out weeds with their fast-growing, extensive foliage.  
Lady Creativity

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