Chitting Potatoes

The weather is proving to be difficult to judge. We’ve got Orla, Rocket, Carlingford and Estima potatoes to chit, and while we’d happily put them in the ground in this kind of temperature—we often find March is colder than this—we’re also confident that we’re going to get a cold snap and if we get the spuds going too early they will exhaust the food store in the tuber if we can’t plant them out until after, say, a late March frost.

So these are the Orla (one of the varieties highly recommended by Peter, our site rep) and they are already in their egg box home, a bit early I agree, but we’ve had situations in previous years where a rotten seed potato would infect half the tubers in a bag, before we realised, so we let them get air from the beginning these days. If the sprouts get too long (the ideal is not more than a couple of centimetres) we’ll just rub the sprout off the tuber and let it start growing again. If the sprouts get too long they become attenuated and brittle and use up all the value of the tuber instead of transferring it directly to growing a new generation of potatoes.

Normally we’d aim to plant most of our potatoes in the middle of March, but some years that hasn’t happened until April.

And yes, for those who follow the blog, I did say we wouldn’t be growing potatoes this year, as plot #103 is a new plot to us and may have the same wireworm problem as plot #201 did, but OH saw the seed potato sacks and that was it – he does love his potatoes!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, January 12, 2012


Blogger Joanna said...

We don't chit our potatoes, we just plant them directly like all the locals here in Latvia do. I do remember reading somewhere that it is not really necessary.

January 12, 2012 at 8:14 AM  

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