It is best to chit seed potatoes six weeks before planting time. Early potato varieties grown for new potatoes such as ‘Rocket’ and ‘Swift’ are the first ones to chit, ready for planting in late March.
Seed potatoes are small potatoes that are planted in spring to produce a new potato plant.
It is best not to because many shop bought potatoes may have been treated to prevent them from sprouting. They will also be more prone to disease. Buy seed potatoes from a specialist and you will have many different varieties to choose from. Order soon because sought after varieties will be scarce by early spring.
Reputable suppliers of seed potatoes will sell Safe Haven certified stock. This means that the seed has been grown under a scheme that helps protect seed potatoes from disease.
To chit seed potatoes is to place them in a frost-free, well-lit room to encourage them to start producing shoots before they are planted. If there is not enough light, the sprouts will be long but liable to fracturing. Short sprouts which are either dark green or purple in colour are optimum for this process.
It’s not a necessity, but chitting seed potatoes helps to get the plants ready for harvesting earlier so it will save you a few weeks and will allow you to enjoy the delicious taste of fresh new potatoes as early as possible.
Place each seed potato ‘rose end’ up in a tray (or in an old egg box). The ‘rose end’ is the end that has the most dimples (called ‘eyes’). This is where most of the shoots will sprout from. Place the tray in a well-lit place indoors at a temperature of 7-10C. Exposure to lower temperatures can damage the shoots.
Once the new shoots on the seed potatoes are around 5cm long they are readyRead more on theenglishgarden.co.uk