potatoes01Start chitting early potato varieties in preparation for planting out in late March/early April. Individual tubers can be placed in egg cartons (or similar) in a cool place under indirect light.

Chitting is the name given to the process of getting potatoes ready for planting. Only buy good quality seed potatoes for sprouting and place them on a tray or placed in the compartment of old egg cartons. Look for the side of the potato with the most eyes and place this side up. A light and cool place is ideal. A light sprinkling of soil should provide sufficient moisture around the sprouting potatoes. All but three or four of the sprouts are removed, leaving the strongest growths only. After the sprouts are about 2.5 cm long, the seed potatoes are planted in the ground.

Gardeners who live in tune with the lunar calendar report that potatoes crop heavier when they are planted just before a new moon. Loose, humus-rich or sandy soil is preferred. Crop rotation dictates that potatoes should not be grown in the same bed two years running. Last planting date should be during the month of June.

TandM See the Thompson and Morgan site for recommended varieties for growing in The South East.