Chitting seed potatoes is a green light to get plans underway for the growing year, it’s a reminder that spring is just around the corner, I can feel it in the air and I can hear it in birdsong – an exciting time for gardeners.
Garden centres and seed merchants are stocking and selling bags of seed potatoes now so I popped out last weekend and bought mine. I went for Charlotte salad potatoes again because we love them, also Picasso which is a main crop variety and a first for me with good disease resistance. Normally if I have the space for growing main crop I usually go for tried and trusted Desiree but I threw caution to the wind and went for something different. Ooh get me!
To get earlies off to a flying start you can chit your seed potatoes before planting, this means standing them in an egg box or tray with the eyes facing upwards towards the light, keep them in a cool, light and frost-free place where they will soon produce short green sprouts (shoots) to help give an earlier crop when planted. They can stay in their trays until planting conditions are right, usually from March onwards ready for lifting around June time. Main crop can go in a few weeks later than earlies and second earlies normally ready for lifting anytime from late August through to the end of the year depending on variety.
Happy chitting and potato growing!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on January 26, 2011
It sure is cold and miserable out there but I have still managed to get a bit of gardening done. The last of the Leeks have been pulled (some were suffering from rust so were forgiven for looking a bit scruffy) and the plots given a good digging over and general tidy up with organic home compost forked in. I weighed down my collection of empty compost bags on top of the plots to help warm the soil for spring sowing, this should suppress the weeds for a while too. The sunflowers that were left for the birds to strip were mouldy and water-logged, no more seeds remained on the heads so these got the chop, bit of weeding and digging were needed to get the ground ready for spring. I just adore sunflowers and itching to get growing them again.
Already there are signs of life from the rhubarb patch, fat buds of Timperley Early are pushing through the soil just to tease me, I would love to force it but it needs at least another years growth with light harvest in order to make it a stronger plant. I shall resist the temptation. On the subject of forcing I have been hunting around lately for a terracotta forcing pot, they look so stylish nestled amongst the fat green rhubarb leaves don’t you think?
Seed potatoes are readily available now, just lay them out in a tray or egg boxes to chit with eyes uppermost in a cool frost-free place and by March /April they will be ready for planting out. I will probably get some Charlotte salad potatoes but I need to make my mind up on a main crop variety. I cut the autumn raspberry canes down and collected up what felt like a ton of leaves from the lawn for the compost bins and potted up autumn sowing broad beans – the bad weather claimed my outdoor sowing in December. With the constant wet weather I fear my new seeds will rot off in the ground, I don’t want to risk another disaster so germination in pots it shall have to be.
Daffodils are just starting to appear, lighter nights and a change in birdsong have me feeling all excited for the coming gardening year.
What have you been doing in your January garden?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on January 21, 2011
I forgot to buy seed potatoes last weekend so I made a quick dash to the smallholder suppliers so we can crack on with chitting them.
It is safe to say that we are nowhere near ready with the vegetable garden plot, the whole lot needs to be cleared and dug over. We decided to make a few temporary beds elsewhere in the garden so we can get the growing season underway. Potatoes take up an awful lot of room so we will probably plant some in large containers as well, this worked very well for us last year so its worth another go.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 6, 2009