Our guide to planting potatoes this February and March
Fancy growing your own potatoes this year? Well, February – March is the recommended time to start chitting your potatoes. For those who don’t know what chitting is don’t worry! All will be explained in our handy guide below. Potatoes are a lovely crop to grow as they require very little care, and are great vegetables for first-time gardeners!
What even is Chitting?
Before growing potatoes we recommend you buy seed potatoes from your local garden centre ‘chit’ them first. The process of chitting allows seed potatoes to grow sprouts before they’re planted, giving them a head start and reducing the amount of time you’ll have to wait before they are fully grown. This process is not essential but it is highly recommended by gardening experts
When should I chit my potatoes?
Seed potatoes should be chitted more or less 6 weeks before you plan to plant them – so, for many, that will mean chitting in February ready for planting in March/April.
How to Chit potatoes?
It’s a lot easier than it sounds! It also requires very little equipment and resources. All you need is 3 simple things: Light, a bit of heat and some old trays or egg boxes!
We’d recommend using seed potatoes rather than ordinary ones, as they’re the same price. The only difference is a seed potato already has a mini sprout already to make the chitting process much faster.
So, once you have these lay out your potatoes in an egg box or tray and make sure they’re facing upright so the small, bumpy indentations in its skin are at the top.
Once you’ve done this place your tray of seed potatoes in a space that is cool, but has plenty of light. Try to choose a space that’s around 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) which will force the seed potatoes to sprout. You might place the seed potatoes on a porch or in a garage that gets lots of light. Then wait 4-6 weeks.
You should see strong, green shoots on each of the potatoes after 4 to 6 weeks. Once these shoots are about 2 to 3 centimeters long, the seed potatoes are now ready to plant. We’d recommend you rub off any excess shoots, and leave around 3 or 4 of the largest strongest ones.