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Friday, February 13, 2009

I need to Chit!

Sorry, I'm not being rude but the seed potatoes I ordered have arrived and they need chitting.... all one hundred of them.

  • 10 x Kestrel
  • 10 x Picasso
  • 10 x Anya
  • 10 x Pentland Javelin
  • 10 x King Edward
  • 10 x Sante
  • 10 x Charlotte
  • 10 x Foremost
  • 10 x Desiree
  • 10 x Pixie
  • 2 free packets of seeds, one of Parsley and one of Chives which I've already sown. :)

Each seed will produce, on average, 10 potatoes so all going well that should provide us with one thousand potatoes, which should keep us going for a while.

So, just what is chitting? It is the process that encourages 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.

This is how I chit: I place each seed potato, blunt end upermost, in a compartment of an egg box as you can see in the photograph. They are then placed in a light, cool, well-ventilated spot to encourage the development of stocky shoots 2-2.5cm long, prior to planting. Mine will probably go in the greenhouse, which isn't heated during the day so is nice and cool...... or in my 'computer room', which is really the spare room. It's an extension to the house, so the heating isn't effective and therefore cool! It's also where I work on the computer, wearing a pair of knee-high slippers, and surrounded by all sorts of paraphenalia..... one hundred seed potatoes could be joining me soon!

For such a common vegetable, don't potatoes have beautiful names.....Charlotte, Pixie, Picasso, etc. It might come as a surprise to many people that they have a pretty flower too.

The latin horticultural title for the humble potato is Solanum tuberosum. Over an arch in our garden is growing a relation to the potato, a climber called Solanum crispum.

It is also called the Chilean Potato Vine and you can see the familiar potato-like flowers. The blue is stunning and is a perfect partner for Cecile Bruner, the climbing rose it is growing alongside.

Well folks, you know what I'm going to be doing over the weekend.... I'll be busy chitting. Just as well I have lots of empty egg boxes!


  1. Wow, I didn't know that potatoes have beautiful flowers! Now I also know what chitting is. Thanks for the nice to know information about your gardening.

    Happy valentine's day, Lesley. Thanks for always dropping by my post.

  2. You're welcome Searching Soul!

    Just think, we could plant a whole garden full of potatoes and get beautiful flowers and lots of meals too. :D I could hardly believe it the first time I saw a potato in flower!

  3. I love gardening, you have a great blog here!

  4. Thanks Greg! :) I've just come in from the garden now. The weather has been cold and snowy for the past few weeks but today was lovely and bright, so I thought I'd make the most of it. Nice to see you stop by.