How to Chit Potatoes

Potatoes will chit (sprout) quite naturally as anyone who has left a bag of potatoes at the back of a cupboard can testify.

What a gardener wants is strong vigourous plants and the best thing to do is to let the potato sprout before planting it. My gardening tip for chitting pototoes is all about location. You need to find a cool light place to chit your potatoes.

In February or March, stand the potatoes in egg cartons and let them sprout. If lots of sprots appear on each potato, rub most of them off leaving one healthy stem. This can be done in the kitchen as much as anywhere. The chitted potoatoes will become wrikled as they lose some of their moisture, but this is to be expected to a certain degree.

Then after a couple of weeks when you have a good strong stem growing up from the tuber, plant the chitted potatoes at the end of march or early april. Remember to plant the potoatoes the right way up and be careful with that sprout as it will be weak and liable to break if handled roughly, ruining all the hard work. There is conflicting advice on how far apart to plant seed potatoes. Personally I usually plant my potatoes about 12 inches apart in a trench and I line trenches up 2 foot apart. Potato plants take up a lot of room so although this might eem like too much room at present, once they get going it might look like you have overcrowded them.

Always align your trenches north to south.

The reward if you chit your potatoes correctly will be a wonderfully strong and healthy plant which will produce lots of potatoes later in the year.