• Greensleeves

Get Chitting!!

Getting seed potatoes ready to go in the ground always reminds me of my dear old dad who taught me most of what I know about veg planting (he was never into flowers, couldn't see the point in them!) So I was happy to see our seed potato varieties Wilja and Charlotte for sale at the nursery earlier than usual this year. Our dilemma is that we don't yet have many frost-free spaces big enough for storing stocks of these little tubers but with the loan of some potato blankets from our potato supplier in Stoke sub Hamdon we are now able to keep a small selection of these second early croppers warm enough to sell.

When you get them home, chit your potatoes in seed trays, shallow boxes or empty egg cartons in a cool, bright, frost-free position (10C/ 50F), to allow them to sprout. Place the end with the most eyes upwards and let the 'chits' or shoots grow to 25mm (1") in length, then rub off all but three or four of the strongest chits (many more and you'll get lots of smaller potatoes rather than a fewer number of decent sized ones) before planting in a prepared trench, 10cm deep. You can also experiment with growing spaces, I've tried large tubs and pots, hessian sacks, big thick plastic bags, all with varying degrees of success - container planting is perfect for smaller gardens or getting children involved.

I get so much pleasure out of harvesting potatoes when you're digging them up and they keep appearing throughout the crumbly soil where I planted the original tuber, it is worth every effort. Enjoy!

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