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Chitting potatoes- have I got this right?

I have a large veg garden in the house we bought in December, this year, we'll be focusing on getting rid of the cleaver and general maintenance (fixing rotten greenhouse, making compost etc); I want to view the garden through the summer to see what it offers before I decide what I want to do with it (I've noticed hundreds of bulbs when I've been weeding but have no idea what they are).

Sorry, the question...image

I've read that you can grow potatoes easily to enrich the soil (ready for planting a wider range next year). If so, where do I get seed potatoes from, how long does it take to 'chit' them and do I leave them indoors? I've watched the video on here but I'm still unclear. Thanks.


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,067

    Hi Rachael, you can get seed potatoes online or from garden centres and even places like Wilkinsons.  There is no real need to chit potatoes - trials have shown that while it can give a slightly earlier crop, unchitted potatoes grow perfectly well anyway.image

    Potatoes don't actually enrich the soil but are said to "help break it up", improving the soil structure.  My thinking on that one is that you dig the soil to plant them, then earth them up as they are growing and finally have another good dig to harvest your crop.  That's a lot of cultivation and probably explains why they "help to break-up the soil"! image


    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • No expertNo expert Posts: 415
    No expert wrote (see)

    Sow earlies in late March, cover from late frost.

    Sow second earlies mid to late April.

    Sow maincrop late April to mid May.

    Hope this is of help.

    As bob says there is no need to chit potatoes at all.

    Another great thing about potatoes is they quickly cover up the groung and supress weeds.

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    And they taste good,

  • Thanks for all of the advice folks. No expert- am I right in assuming you sow in three rounds? When you say light but frost free, would a greenhouse be okay? There are a few missing panes so it is pretty cold.
  • We have bought our seed pots today and they are 'Jelly' A variety we haven't been able to buy before, but have had them to eat  from a well know super market. These are most tastiest pots I have ever had. Can't wait to get them growing... but the rain oh the rain!!!

  • I'm guessing rain is bad (sorry, I'm a total novice). Where did you buy yours from? Are there any tips for what to look for in a seeding potato?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,067

    Yes, if you can actually see what you are buying then avoid any that already have shoots longer than 1/4" (5mm) as these have been kept in too warm a place.  Also avoid any that are soft or look shrunken or crinkly.  A good seed potato at this time of the year should be firm and have tiny buds in the eyes rather than developed shoots.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,067

    PS, as to your earlier question regarding frost, it would be risky to put them in a greenhouse with missing panes at the moment.  Better would be in an unheated room of your house by a window.  If you don't have such a place, the greenhouse will have to do but cover them with some garden fleece which will keep the frost off of them.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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