What does it mean to Chit Potatoes?

If you are a novice gardener, you may wonder what chitting potatoes means and why people do it?

Chitting potatoes basically means that you are trying to get your seed potatoes to develop chits or buds before you put them in the ground. This allows the potatoes to get a head start on growing. It is usually done with first or second early varieties of potatoes.

It’s really easy to start your potatoes into chitting: just stand them upright in an egg box for example, and stick them on a cool windowsill, porch or unheated greenhouse. Look at each potato for the ‘eyes’, it is from these that the chits will develop so make sure the ‘eyes’ are facing upwards towards the light.

If you are chitting more than one variety of potato, don’t forget to label which is which!

In around 6 weeks, you should have several, short, thick, knobbly, dark purple or dark green chits appear from the potato. Two or three chits are all that are necessary before planting in the ground, so you can rub off any excess ones.

If you don’t manage to chit your potatoes this year before planting, they will still grow away in the ground but will be a few weeks later to crop.

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