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Growing Potatoes – How to Grow Potatoes

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Below you will find a video explaining the process of ‘chitting’. If you find your chits are slow to emerge, place some onions next to them. The onions give off an odour which speeds up the process of chitting.

During February and March you’ll hear many gardeners talk about ‘chitting’ potatoes, but what exactly is it and does it help? Chitting is a process of creating little shoots on the potatoes, where you’ll find their ‘eyes’.

Traditionally gardeners use old egg boxes. They make it easier for the seed potatoes to stay upright. Just pop them in the boxes and keep in a frost-free, light environment. If you put them on the windowsill or in the greenhouse, cover with a layer of newspaper or kitchen towel so they aren’t in direct sunshine otherwise they will start to shrivel up.

It has been claimed that ‘chitting’ potatoes prior to planting them can increase yields by 2.5 pound. But look at it from the point-of-view of the farmer. They won’t have space or time to chit their potatoes and they still get a good crop. The generally excepted theory is that chitting is probably done by the home grower or allotment gardener because there is nothing much else to do in February and the need to get gardening is strong.

NOTE: You don’t need to chit potatoes if you are growing them for the Christmas table by planting in July/August.

For an extra early crop you can plant a few seed potatoes into large pots and keep in the greenhouse in February.

prefer to be planted with Beans, Cabbages, Peas, Sweetcorn, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Horseradish and Nettles.
dislike being planted with Apples, Cherries, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Sunflowers, Tomatoes and Raspberries.

About Sean James Cameron

Based in London, Sean has been gardening since being a teenager. Although vegetables and fruit is the main passion, there is also room for flowers.

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  1. Great article Sean. I love the growing chart, a very nice touch. I printed this for future reference. I can envision this being part of a gardening book by you one day. Really looking forward to your war time kitchen garden at the new railway allotment. New beginnings are so uplifting. Many blessings in 2018.

  2. I was surprised to see that potatoes don’t like to be planted with tomatoes. I had been thinking of planting some in bags with tomatoes as a bit of an experiment. Since they are both part of the nightshade family, I thought they would get along well.

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