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Oct / Nov issue of The Irish Garden








Johnplotman's Journal

Johnplotman's Journal

Last Post 66 days 2 hours ago

Chitting the tubers of new seed potatoes.

17 December 2009 23:11:37

What is chitting.This is the name given to the method of getting good healthy shoots to emerge from the tubers before they are planted out.The best size of seed potatoes to plant weigh app 2 to 3 ounces which is about the size of a large egg.If they are too larger they can ultimately be cut in halves in such a way that there are ample short shoots in each portion.

In order to induce the tubers to sprout the seed potatoes are stood in trays.I use old egg trays here and they do the job for me.They must be placed in an airy,light,frost proff place until late March.At this time any that have no shoots or are rotting should be thrown to the bin.A well sprouted tuber will have growts about one inch emerging from 3 or 4 eyes at the top.If they are kept in a dark,warm place the shoots will let you down by growing spindly,white in colour and up to 6 inches long.This will be far from ideal for you when chitting new tubers.They need the good start and you will also gain about 3 to 4 weeks on them when sowing with the new shoots on them.If not you would have to wait almost that length of time before they emerge out of the ground.


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Cloncaw Cloncaw 17 December 2009 23:29:35

Article in Grow Your Own as to chit or not to chit. They are going to do different ways to see what gives the best result. Still not sure what's best but have the egg boxes waiting.


Mecky Mecky 17 December 2009 23:39:14

For 17 years I've always sown my seed potatoes without chitting with great results. This year I thought I'd try it and lined up the eggboxes in the conservatory. To be honest I noticed no difference when I harvested. No more chitting for me.


Johnplotman Johnplotman 18 December 2009 00:00:30

It will be interesting Cloncaw to see the outcome of the different ways.When i started organic vegetable gardening some years back and read about how it was done in one of the R.H.S books i went with it from there.


J.D. J.D. 18 December 2009 06:32:34

On both occasions that I grew potatoes, I chitted them. And I had great success for both crops. Must do it again next year.


Clara Clara 18 December 2009 07:34:16

John no matter what you do you will have a great crop you have green fingers I have asked santa for an allotment I wish .


Johnplotman Johnplotman 18 December 2009 07:35:56

Thank you  for that  Jacinta.


paul75 paul75 18 December 2009 07:38:07

im going to try some pinks this year had some santie last time turned out good but i love the pinks.on the farm 20 years ago we used to plant about 30 acre of potatoes every year but stoped about 15 years ago.wondering what month would be best to start keeping the seed in the trays im going to plant on paddys day with gods help


J.D. J.D. 18 December 2009 07:39:44

Yea Paul, they say that traditionally, they should be planted by St Patricks day at the latest.


Johnplotman Johnplotman 18 December 2009 07:41:51

Hope Santa hear yours wishes Clara.[thanks] and leaves you the allotment you wish for.


Johnplotman Johnplotman 18 December 2009 07:50:56

Similar to Jacinta any youself Paul,St Patricks day is also the latest day to plant here.I hope to start chitting them as early in the new year as possible.When a little into January,we start them from there.


Mairin Mairin 19 December 2009 00:40:28

I always thought that there was no point planting potatoes into the ground if the soil temperature is below 7 degrees.  Did I imagine this rule? 


Johnplotman Johnplotman 19 December 2009 09:04:53

Right now Mairin that rule is not to far wrong.Time your plan for sowing first earlies in the new year.I hope to start mine here in late January-earlie February.To get them a great start off,just keep them in a frost free room for app 5-6 weeks.They need light but never direct sunshine.

I go for an earlie called Duke Of Yorks and the good thing about these id they can also be used as main crop if you prefer.You will get a full list of the first earlies in the Mr Middletons potato section from the 2010 cat.


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