How to Chit Seed Potatoes

chitting seed potatoes

Seed potatoes are usually available to buy from garden centres and seed merchants from early January with different varieties to chose from. These seed potatoes are from disease resistant stock and free from pests, giving you and your soil the best possible start in growing your own potatoes.

chitting potatoes

Chitting seed potatoes encourages shoots to form, this is particularly helpful with early potatoes (earlies) to get them off to a flying start before planting.

To chit seed potatoes simply stand them in an egg box or tray with the eyes facing upwards towards the light, keep them in a cool, light and frost-free place where they will soon produce short dark green sprouts (shoots) which will help give an earlier crop when planted. They can stay in their trays until planting conditions are right, usually from March onwards ready for lifting around June time. Main crop can go in a few weeks after earlies and second earlies, they’ll be ready for lifting anytime from late August through to the end of the year, depending on variety.

Happy chitting and potato growing!

January in the Garden Smallholding

It sure is cold and miserable out there but I have still managed to get a bit of gardening done. The last of the Leeks have been pulled (some were suffering from rust so were forgiven for looking a bit scruffy) and the plots given a good digging over and general tidy up with organic home compost forked in. I weighed down my collection of empty compost bags on top of the plots to help warm the soil for spring sowing, this should suppress the weeds for a while too. The sunflowers that were left for the birds to strip were mouldy and water-logged, no more seeds remained on the heads so these got the chop, bit of weeding and digging were needed to get the ground ready for spring. I just adore sunflowers and itching to get growing them again.

Already there are signs of life from the rhubarb patch, fat buds of Timperley Early are pushing through the soil just to tease me, I would love to force it but it needs at least another years growth with light harvest in order to make it a stronger plant. I shall resist the temptation. On the subject of forcing I have been hunting around lately for a terracotta forcing pot, they look so stylish nestled amongst the fat green rhubarb leaves don’t you think?

Seed potatoes are readily available now, just lay them out in a tray or egg boxes to chit with eyes uppermost in a cool frost-free place and by March /April they will be ready for planting out. I will probably get some Charlotte salad potatoes but I need to make my mind up on a main crop variety. I cut the autumn raspberry canes down and collected up what felt like a ton of leaves from the lawn for the compost bins and potted up autumn sowing broad beans – the bad weather claimed my outdoor sowing in December. With the constant wet weather I fear my new seeds will rot off in the ground, I don’t want to risk another disaster so germination in pots it shall have to be.

Daffodils are just starting to appear, lighter nights and a change in birdsong have me feeling all excited for the coming gardening year.

What have you been doing in your January garden?