In 'Dig This' I look at a specific item of interest in detail. This month it is about chitting potatoes
To chit or not to chit?
Chitting is done to get potatoes to chit or sprout before they are planted. Chitting is quite controversial since it is usually done to encourage an earlier crop of potatoes than would otherwise be the case. Commercial growers donít do it because it is quite labour intensive, but when you only have a few dozen seed potatoes at most it does not take long to arrange them in egg boxes. If egg boxes are not available a shoe box or similar is fine. Tests have shown that early potatoes benefit from chitting but later varieties do not. However I reckon itís worth chitting anyway for a different reason. If you leave seed potatoes in the dark, or in a bag, they produce long white sprouts which are not desirable. Since you have to store them until planting, it is better to put them in a light cool place which arrests the growth of this sprouting and produces short purple coloured chits. So personally I think its worth doing just to get the plants off to a good start, rather than trying to steal a march by getting an earlier crop,The controversy about whether it gets earlier results is irrelevant.It's the best way of storing the seed potatoes until planting.