Growing Guides

Chitting Seed Potatoes

Seed potatoes are readily available from garden centres and seed merchants from early January, offering many different varieties to chose from. Produced to be disease-free they offer the best possible start with growing your own potatoes.

You may have come across a gardening term called ‘chitting’ or ‘chit’, so what does this mean exactly? Chitting simply means encouraging a seed or tuber to sprout before sowing or planting, this gets the crop off to a good start. When it comes to potatoes, chitting is particular useful for first and second earlies which are planted out earlier in the year, but there isn’t a hard rule that says you must chit them – they will still grow perfectly fine as long as the ground isn’t water logged.

seed potatoes

To chit seed potatoes simply stand them in egg boxes or trays with the eyes facing upwards towards the light, keep them in a cool, light and frost-free place. They will soon produce short dark green shoots (chits) which will help give an earlier crop when planted, if the shoots are long and pale they need more light.

chitting seed potatoes

Potatoes can stay in their trays until planting conditions are right, usually from March onwards for first and second earlies, ready for lifting around June. Main crop can go in a few weeks after earlies and second earlies, they’ll be ready for lifting anytime from late August through to the end of the year, depending on variety.


7 thoughts on “Chitting Seed Potatoes

  1. We have 3 varieties of early potatoes, probably not known in UK and one for main crop : Sarpo Mira which is supposed to be mildew resistant (and really is). Some people don’t like them but we appreciate them a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a bit Confused when I’ve planted my 1st earlies
    When do I plant my 2nd earlis and when do I plant my main crop I’m probably biening really stupid can can anybody put me right
    Steve and cadge


    1. Hi Steve and Cadge, first earlies can be planted in March as long as the ground isn’t frozen, second earlies and main crop potatoes can be planted from April onwards. I’ve planted second earlies in March if weather conditions allow, the weather condition at the time decides when I sow or plant. I hope this helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks that’s great I’ve never really been sure and felt a bit silly asking so thank you.
        Last year I planted casablanca 1st earlies and they were brilliant so I’ll be doing the same again , apart from planting them in the ground I did try a few buckets but found the one from the ground were far better I will try buckets again but just leave them in a little longer.
        I’m going to try maris pier for my 2nd earlies ,what you guys trying
        Steve and cadge 😊


      2. Ahh please don’t feel silly, we’re all learning all the time and I really don’t mind helping if I can. I’m certainly not an expert but I have got experience. I agree, potatoes tend to do better in the ground, pot-grown potatoes need lots of water. I’m growing Charlotte again this year, always does well for me and I love small salad potatoes.


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