potatoes to be planted

How To ‘Chit’ Potatoes

Increase your crop of Early potatoes by 'chitting'

‘Chitting’ means letting the potatoes put out shoots before you plant them in the ground. It is usually only done to First and Second Earlies and reduces the time spent in the ground so you achieve a crop earlier than you would if you just allowed them to shoot in the ground, weather permitting. There is some dissention as to whether chitting results in an increased yield with both sides of the camp being adamant that it either does or doesn’t, so it’s just a case of try it and see.

  • Make sure the potatoes are proper seed potatoes from a reputable garden centre or retailer; do not use supermarket potatoes, they won’t give a decent crop.
  • Use egg trays or crumpled newspaper in trays, anything to hold the potatoes stood on their end.
  • Place them somewhere light and warm, above 10C (50F).
  • Once the shoots are about 2cm (<1”) the potatoes are ready to plant, provided soil conditions are favourable. They should be sturdy and a purplish green; if they are white and spindly they either have not had enough light or else they are not specific seed potatoes.  
  • Keep 3 – 4 of the sturdiest shoots and take off the rest; you want the plant to put all its energy into just a few and not waste it producing a lot of greenery when it should be producing potatoes. Leaving a lot of shoots will result in smaller, fewer potatoes.

For more gardening information, hints and tips just get in touch with our team in the Outdoor Plant department here in store.

Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer so always used to producing something from the earth, whether it was animals or garden produce. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I also keep a few hens and grow vegetables for my own personal use. I gained a BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management. As a result of this I have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening.