How Why and When to Chit Potatoes
The concept around chitting potatoes is based on starting potatoes off earlier (indoor) so that growth or sprouting has commenced before planting out.
Originally this was to have the potatoes ready to plant after the danger of frosts was over, and in very cold, frost prone areas it may still have its merits.
For the home gardener, the only real benefit is seeing where the potato sprouts and then being able to divide the potato up to space them more evenly. And off course, avoiding late frosts in some USDA Zones.
The chitted potatoes will have small shoots on them, we leave them all on when planting, some like to rub off the weakest ones.
- When to start Chitting potatoes
We recommend around 4 weeks before you intend to plant them. And planting time is when floats are past and the soil has reached around 8 – 10 degrees. So the exact time will depend on your USDA Zone.
- How to Chit Potatoes
Sit the potatoes in an egg carton or on a rack in a cool position indoors. Filtered or indirect light and keep them dry.
Potatoes will sprout in the dark, however you tend to get long weak white shoots which are easily damaged, so chit then is a light position.
Top Tips For Chitting Potatoes
- If you chit potatoes for too long, again the sprouts will be long and easily damaged when planting.
- The chits or sprouts should only be around 2cm ling..
- Removing excess chits, (shoots). The theory is that if you remove all but 2 – 3 of the strongest shoots you will get larger potatoes.
- In colder zones try growing short season potato varieties such as Yukon Gold, Princess Larette, Irish Cobbler, Red Norland and Russett are a few to consider.
What are seed Potatoes
These are potatoes that are certified virus free, and are recommended for all growers.