|Earthbound Gardens - Red Bay, Ontario||
Tired of waiting to get out into the garden?
Despairing the cold weather? Well, get planting! We think that we're off to a promising start with our potatoes, and you can too. Potatoes are a great crop to start inside. The method of preparing potatoes for the great outdoors is called "chitting". Here's how -
Choose your potato - any tuber that is showing signs of bulging is breaking dormancy. The "greening up" process has begun.
Place each potato, most eye side up, in an egg carton.
Place the egg carton in a cool (around 10C - 15C is ideal), bright room. Make sure there is enough light, but that the "incubator" isn't in direct sunlight. Too little sunlight will make the sprouts long, skinny, pale and brittle - not a great start. Direct sunlight will just...well, cook the potato or make it rot - not a great start either. You want nice plump green or pinkish compact shoots.
You could plant the sprouted tubers up in the house. Make sure your container can breathe, a larger peat pot, or even a sturdy brown paper lunch bag would work. Or wait until your hands are comfortable in the soil outside (a little chilly is fine, but not icy cold!) and plant as you would the rest of your potato crop making sure not to knock the shoots off.
One may ask but why? Why chit potatoes?
A couple of reasons, greening up the potatoes triggers the production of solanine in the potato. This chemical decreases rotting, and is thought to deter voles and other critters from feasting on them. The process is reported to increase over yield of each plant. An early start means early harvest. Good reasons.
The reason we do it? It's just fun!