Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To chit or not to chit...

It must be nearly spring! I've been chitting my potatoes.

There's a lot of debate over whether or not to chit potatoes - that's the process of putting them out in trays, or eggboxes, in a bright, frost-free place for a few weeks so the eyes can sprout and form short shoots before you put them in the ground.

I've always thought it best to take the common sense view: after all, the only thing chitting is for is to bring your potatoes on a bit, and make sure they get up and running as early as possible.

The only potatoes that's relevant to is the earlies - so I've always chitted my Duke of Yorks and they've always done brilliantly, cropping at the beginning of June.

But even second earlies will develop fine if you plant them, unchitted, in mid-March, cover with fleece and then start harvesting once the first earlies are finished - usually the end of June. That's plenty of time for them to get going well without any extra help.

And as for maincrops - they'll be in the ground all summer, right up until August and September, so they have even more time. Just bung them in towards the end of March and they'll be away - couldn't be easier!

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