Steve Richards
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Chitting potatoes

Chitting potatoes

Feb 20, 2021

I'm sure a lot of you are busy chitting potatoes right now and I am too, but not very many.

I've been doing some experiments to compare the performance of chitting and not chitting. I'm specifically focused on how useful chitting is for super-early potatoes.

I've planted chitted and un-chitted seeds in pots and left them in a corner of my conservatory. The chitted seeds broke surface in 5-7 days and the un-chitted ones in 9-10 days. So chitting was effectively a waste of effort in this scenario. Here's the results:

So when is chitting worthwhile?

  • When you have potatoes that are starting to sprout and you have nowhere cool to keep them. Chitting in a bright, cool, frost free place allows you to keep them in good condition.

  • When you are planting in the ground and you want to get them growing as soon as possible after the ground becomes ready. Personally I think containers are better for early potatoes.

Personally I'm not bothering to chit anything that I can start indoors in pots as there's no advantage. I'm also not bothering for second earlies, because I'm not in any rush to grow them early. I'm only going to start chitting when the weather warms up and my seeds start sprouting.

Why does this matter? Well any cool, bright frost free space that I have will be used by seedlings, not seed potatoes. Here's my 12 day old potatoes in pots.

Here's one of my tubs of - hopefully - early baking potatoes, only 5 weeks from planting.

Here's my eBook chapter on growing potatoes:

: All the best - Steve

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