Chitting potatoes

If you can get your seed potatoes early, it will help to harden them off before planting, especially if winters are wet where you live. If tubers are kept wet soon after planting, black leg and tuber rots are more likely to occur. The hardening process for seed potatoes involves putting them in a warm well-lit area, out of direct sunlight, for a few weeks. This process is called chitting. If your seed potatoes are large, and require cutting in half before sowing, chitting is highly recommended. Don’t rub cut potatoes with wood ash, as some experts recommend. Wood ash contains a fast-acting form of calcium, and can stimulate the disease that produces “scabby” potatoes.
The segmented parts of cardboard egg cartons are perfect for chitting potatoes. Chitting also allows you to observe whether sprouts on seed potatoes are short and thick, or spindly. Seed potatoes with spindly shoots should be disposed of as they come from plants that have been infected by a virus spread by aphids. Leaves will roll upwards and plants will not produce well.

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