It’s chitting time… or is it?

imageThe chitting of my seed potatoes started just over a week ago but as you can probably see there seemed to be no progress yet – I know it’s too soon and I’m an impatient fool but I can’t help checking and would look more frequently if I could!

I’m hoping I’m not too late with this given some of the advice I seen but at the same time even if I’m too early I’ve not found any reliable advice on what to  do in the event of a cold snap when I want to plant them out. Perhaps it will all even out in the end…

Many of the books I’ve seen talk about chitting in a fairly general way but don’t go any further than telling you to do it. For example, most  don’t cover when you might expect to see the first signs of activity which is fairly important for an impatient semi-beginner like me. There also seems to be very little information on how long the whole chitting  process should take but like most things in the garden it will just “take as long as it takes” and I noticed that no one offers advice on speeding it up.

The seed potatoes I’ve bought for this year are Charlotte (a second early or so I’m told) and very popular with home growers it appears. I have great hopes for them and I’m just hoping that my expectations are met in some small way when it comes to harvest time.

These  were bought on-line from the Marshalls website and the delivery arrived very promptly but I was not particularly impressed with the quality because I’ve had about a 10% loss due to mouldy or damaged tubers. Of course I have no idea whether this is a good result or if I’ve been sent a duff batch.

As it turns out this is not such a big problem because we don’t have a huge amount of space and will only spare 1 of the 3 veg beds for potatoes this year.  There  will only be a couple of rows with about 8 plants but by staggering the planting times I’m hoping to spread out the harvest with any luck rather than get a glut of new potatoes all at once.

I’ve tried to deal with all eventualities and will be chitting in two batches by starting a second batch about 3 weeks after the first. I’ve also put a small plastic cloche/cover on the intended veg bed to warm the soil and keep off any frosts. Presumably I could keep the cover on once I’ve planted them out if there is any remaining risk of a frost but nothing I’ve read mentions it.

Once there is something more to report I will post some pictures and I plan to document the slow progress all the way from chitting to plate!

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