Potato Chitting is a method used to give your potato crop a head start by growing the shoots before planting them. Early crops can be chitted approx 6 weeks before you intend to plant them. This will result in an earlier and plentiful harvest and less likely to become diseased due to the strength of the shoots.
To start chitting your potatoes, we recommend late January to mid February depending on your location; the cooler the later.
To chit potatoes you will need an early crop batch of potato seeds and containers; egg boxes are ideal for this exercise.
Potatoes have one end with 'eyes' where the shoots start from. Place the seed in the egg box with the eyes facing upwards (at the top). You won't need the lid of the egg box. Label each tray with the variety of potato you're chitting.
Store the potato seeds in a light, cool place indoors and store for approx 4-6 weeks until they have shoots about 2cm long. They must be chitted inside or protected against frost, which will damage the shoots.
Early varieties of potato seeds don't require too many shoots; infact they only need a few. If they have too many, break off the excess roots as this could result in smaller potatoes.
They will then be ready to plant out as long as your location and it's weather conditions allow. Usually during the last week in March to the first half of April.
See how to grow potatoes.