During February and March you’ll hear many gardeners talk about ‘chitting’ potatoes, but what exactly is it and does it help?
WHAT IS CHITTING?
Chitting is a process of creating little shoots on the potatoes, where you’ll find their ‘eyes’.
HOW TO CHIT?
Traditionally gardeners use old egg boxes. They make it easier for the seed potatoes to stay upright. Just pop them in the boxes and keep in a frost-free, light environment. If you put them on the windowsill or in the greenhouse, cover with a layer of newspaper or kitchen towel so they aren’t in direct sunshine otherwise they will start to shrivel up.
DO YOU HAVE TO CHIT POTATOES?
It has been claimed that ‘chitting’ potatoes prior to planting them can increase yields by 2.5 pound. But look at it from the point-of-view of the farmer. They won’t have space or time to chit their potatoes and they still get a good crop. The generally excepted theory is that chitting is probably done by the home grower or allotment gardener because there is nothing much else to do in February and the need to get gardening is strong.
NOTE: You don’t need to chit potatoes if you are growing them for the Christmas table by planting in July/August.