Chitting potatoes

A great way to get potatoes off to an early start.

Length of activity: 5-20 mins approx depending on amount of potatoes and group

You will need

Old egg boxes or egg trays; seed potatoes.

What to do

Work out with your group which way is up on the potato: There will be tiny sprouts on the potato that may already be growing or may be more difficult to see depending on how early you order or purchase your potatoes, and a ‘tail’ where it was attached to the parent plant.
The potato needs to be placed in the egg boxes and trays with the sprouts facing up, they may be around the side of the potato too in varying quantities, but rule of thumb is to place the side or top with the most sprouts uppermost.
The trays then need labelling with potato type and whether it is a ‘First Early’,’ Second Early’, ‘Maincrop’ or ‘Late maincrop’ variety as this has an impact on their planting and harvesting times.
Place trays in a light, cool but frost free place; you are looking for the sprouts to grow strong, short and green.
If they are kept in the dark, the sprouts will grow pale and long, which makes them less healthy and very vulnerable to snapping when planting.

Discuss:  What is chitting? Helping potatoes to grow healthy sprouts before they go into the ground, this gives them a head start on growing.

Planting time: Late March to early April.

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