Getting Started

Customer FAQs - Potato Chitting

Customer FAQs - Potato Chitting
As we get into the swing of spud season we have had some questions coming in regarding the chitting process. Light or dark, warm or cold… so here are some of our FAQs answered by our expert horticultural team.

Is chitting necessary?

The chitting process allows strong green shoots (Chits) to develop on the seed potato tuber before planting. Although not essential it is particularly beneficial for the earlier cropping potatoes, because it gives the potato a quick start thus cropping slightly earlier. Later cropping potatoes are less likely to need chitting as warmer soil temperatures can make a greater difference.

How do i start chitting my seed potatoes?

Start chitting (where necessary) by setting the seed potatoes out, side by side, blunt end uppermost, in single layers in seed trays or a wooden box. Place in a light, cool, well-ventilated spot to encourage the development of stocky shoots 2-2.5cm (¾-1in) long, prior to planting.

No sign of sprouting! What to do…

First and second earlies … wait. It can take a few weeks for chitting to start. Ensure they are in a warm, light environment, colder weather will slow the process. Main crop… can be put straight into the ground without any chits.

How many chits do you let a potato have?

Each variety will act slightly differently with some seeming to throw up more chits than others. The theory is that by restricting the number of shoots, it increases the amount of large potatoes that form… So leaving all the chits on gives a mixed sized harvest whereas restricting to two chits gives fewer tubers but larger. Too many shoots may mean lots of little potatoes but this may be what you are looking for when planting first earlies.

What happens if you knock a chit off?

Wait for new ones! If you rub off all the chits on a potato it will very obligingly grow a new set.

Which way up?

Place your potatoes with the eyes facing up.

My potatoes have been left for a while and the chits are really long? Shall I plant them as they are or cut them back?

You want deep green shoots which are about 1cm to 2cm (half to 1in) long. the length is not critical, healthy, deep green coloured sprouts are. Whether to knock them off and start again will depend on timing, are you early or later on in the season? As they have started to sprout they are now not dormant and so will continue to grow whichever method suits you best.

If I have one potato with 1 chit and another potato with 2 chits, will I get more potatoes from the potato with more chits?

As a general rule of thumb the fewer number of chits means the larger the potato.

Potatoes are so rewarding to grow and the main thing to remember is to enjoy the process. They are a natural living tuber in which given the right environment will do what they are designed to do. Here's to a successful spud season!

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