What does chitting mean?
Chitting is basically another word for sprouting. By exposing the seed potato to light and a small bit of warmth you are encouraging growth. The eyes of the potato will start sprouting - the sprouts should be small, knobbly, and green/purple in colour. If you end up with long, white coloured sprouts, it means there’s not enough light.
Why do you chit potatoes?
By getting the potato to sprout you have started off the growing process so that the plants will have a head start when you put them in the soil. In theory you will then get your potatoes a bit earlier. Is especially good with early potatoes when it would be too cold to plant out in Jan/Feb.
How to chit potatoes
Potatoes will start chitting when exposed to light and heat, so place them somewhere warm and light. A temperature of around 8C-10C is fine. A porch, conservatory or a garage, getting a bit of heat from your house is ideal, or you could use your greenhouse if you’ve got one. Avoid locations that might get frost.
Place the seed potatoes in a single layer with a large amount of eyes facing up. If you’ve only got a small amount of seed potatoes, recycling old egg boxes for this purpose is ideal. For larger amounts, use seed trays or wooden boxes. Keep the tubers upright by supporting them against each other.
Once each of your seed potatoes have got 2-3 good sized ‘chits’ or sprouts on them (about 2cm), it’s time to plant. If any tubers have more than 3 chits/sprouts on them, rub the excess off. If you leave all the shoots intact, there’s too much competition – you’ll end up with lots of potatoes, but they’ll all be small.
For more information on growing potatoes, please click HERE