The Idiot Gardener
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:34 pm
Location: Surrey

Premature Chitting?

A few weeks back I purchased some seed potatoes (Arran Pilot first earlies and Pink Fir Apple main crop). My intention was to do the traditional plant out on Good Friday, so I intended to start chitting in the second week of Feb.

In order to keep the seed dormant, I put them in a dark place. I noticed today that the Arran Pilot have started sprouting with numerous very thin spindly shoots, despite being in the dark. What do I do?

The only advice I have found online is to rub off the sprouts. Is this the best solution? Should I move them somewhere light? I also have read that you only want three chits at most, so do I start again or pick the best three and hope they beef themselves up?

Any help will be gratefully received!

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Rubbing them off is fine if you're eating them, but these are the growing buds, so you don't want to do that for if you're going to grow them.
Darkness alone won't keep them from sprouting -- they need to be kept cold. It's a narrow range -- like 40ºF~45ºF. Cold and wet and they can rot, a little warmer and they sprout.

Someone else had the same dilemma recently, and I said I would try growing them in a cool location like a basement until it's warm enough outside to plant them. See the thread [url=]here[/url].

If your garden soil outside is borderline cold perhaps you can plant them if you put up a row cover? Not sure about that though.

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: TN/GA 7b

I had never heard the term chitting before! I love how this forum keeps teaching me things. So I looked it up. Here's a little article about chitting potatoes, for anyone else like me:

Incidentally, the article talks about planting them out at St. Paddy's day which this year is a couple weeks earlier than Good Friday. I don't know if that's the climate difference between Washington State and Surrey...

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