Growing potatoes – chitting process

Potatoes are a staple here in Norway, so we are planting lots of potatoes this year of different varieties.IMG_2947

Potatoes are quite easy to grow and they grow best in cold climates, making them a natural choice for us.

This year the chitting began in January, choosing the following varieties;

1. White skin potatoes: Amandine, Galant and Folva
2. Red skin potatoes: Beate and Asterix
3. Purple skin potatoes: Congo blue

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Congo Blue potatoes

 

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Sprouting potatoes. These Congo Blue are very ready to go in the ground

 

Chitting is a process whereby you place the potatoes in a sunny place, like a windowsill to encourage the eyes of the potato to grow a sprout. This process is favored in cold climates as it essentially lengthens the growing season by a number of weeks. Last year we harvested the first potatoes in May and we hope this year’s harvest will start in June as the winter has lasted slightly longer compared to last year.

Sprouting potatoes ready for the ground

Sprouting potatoes ready for the ground

 

We place our potatoes in egg cartons or in trays and usually do so about 8 weeks prior to planting them outside.

 

 

The chitting method often encourages many sprouts per potato though, but we tend to remove all but 2 – 3 sprouts per potato as too many sprouts per potato leads to smaller potatoes at harvest as the seed potato puts less energy into each sprout.

Amandine seed potato

Amandine seed potato

We will plant the potatoes out into raised beds, instead of simply planting into the ground. This allows them to grow earlier as the soil warms up faster, encouraging growth.

Potatoes ready to be covered with soil in the pallet beds

Potatoes ready to be covered with soil in the pallet beds

This year I will try raised beds made from recycled pallets and pallet edges. In each pallet raise bed I plant 12 seed potatoes, in this case Amandine, an early 80-90 day variety with very solid flesh. Hopefully we will have potatoes as early as mid-June.

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