Chitting Potatoes

chittingFrom an Alys Fowler article in the Guardian ..."It is most likely too late to debate whether to chit or not. Across the land, egg boxes are full of sprouting potatoes willing on the first good days of spring. There is something so pleasing about those little fat shoots appearing at the end of a tuber.

The idea is to develop the chits (shoots) on the seed potato before it is planted out, to speed up growth so you can harvest your crop three to four weeks early. The trick is to keep those chits as healthy and chubby as possible.

So you need to keep your potatoes somewhere cool, but frost free – in the region of 10-13C will do the trick. Equally, they need good light conditions, but not direct sun, so that the chits grow fat and green, rather than pale and lanky. Ideally, they should be about 2.5cm long at the time of planting out."

Read the full article here.

Planting Potatoes

Mel shows us how to plant potatoes on the Exmouth Allotments Veg Course using Charles Dowding's method.

Charles Dowding has an excellent video on planting Charlotte potatoes, the same variety that we have. I usually plant 3 across a bed and space the rows at 60cm. His soil is very easy to trowel; you may need to use a spade. His video is from the second week of April so use that as a guide, perhaps later rather than earlier.

Ridging Potatoes

You will see from the video that Charles later tops up the soil with compost to prevent light getting to the tubers but we will have to rake up our surface soil/compost from between the rows into ridges.