Chit them up!

Chitting in SE23

I’ve been ill all week with the dreaded flu so I treated myself with a nice big bag of seed potatoes (earlies) for £4.49 from Shannons and stuck them in a cleaned out seed tray to give them a head start. They’re in a cool dry room by the window getting some light and they’ll sit there for a good few weeks while they develop some nice small green shoots (aka “chits”) which aren’t those horrid long yellow ones that old spuds get when they start sprouting in a dark cupboard. Just stick them in an egg box/tray with the blunt end (the one’s with the “eyes”) upwards in a cool, light room and wait until the danger of frost has gone (late spring) then stick them out.

Thanks to Lewisham Gardens for getting in touch about their forthcoming seed swap, the actual date is still to be confirmed but they are looking at possibly Sunday 23 February in Hither Green and it’s FREE! More details nearer the time. We’ll be there!

Also thanks to Mick Matthews who emailed us today about the Cambridgeshire Self Sufficiency Group (CSSG) Potato Day/Seed Swap on 15 February 2014 and it’s at The Commemoration Hall, 39 High St, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3AQ and also FREE, so if you’re in that area, support it! There’s 40 varieties of Potatoes available at £1.00 a kilo and children’s activities as well to keep the little ones happy while you swap your unwanted seeds. Cheers for getting in touch, Mick.

***STOP PRESS*** We’ve just had another email from Mick who mentioned: “Our potato day is not only free but we sell by the kilo so people can buy enough for a row or two without breaking the bank. It’s £1-00 per kilo and that’s been the price for the last four years. We did have a young lady visit the year before from Croydon who had missed the South London potato day and she commented that it was the best potato day she had been to and we only had 25 varieties that year!” Brilliant!

Also he passed on a great tip which is: “Spray the tubers with a weak solution of liquid sea-weed once in the egg trays just enough to wet them, this encourages stronger shoots and roots. Also if necessary plant out with sections of the tray attached as the roots sometime grow into the trays” Cheers again Mick, very helpful!

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2 thoughts on “Chit them up!

  1. Very informational regarding spuds. I have planted them before without letting them sprout beforehand. They still grew well, but my spuds were still pretty small at season’s end. Maybe if I had sprouted a bit before, they would have had more time to produce bigger spuds.

  2. Hi Dr Strangedub cheers for that. Over the last couple of years I’ve chitted the spuds beforehand, earthed the soil up while they are growing (making a mound of soil around the plant), give them a regular feed and water as that helps, and nip out any flowers that form towards the end of the life of the plant so it puts all the energy into the tubers (rather than the fruits, that can form on the plant but they are poisonous.) With the earlies the spuds are never that massive as I am very impatient and always can’t wait to dig them out as I love a fresh spud! I wonder if the secret is to leave them in the ground a big longer? Best of luck with the crop this year. Pete

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