To chit or not to chit?
Depending on which spuds you like, sprouting them early may not be necessary
As an unapologetic science geek who finds trawling through the data of agricultural trials fascinating, I am forever curious as to whether age-old horticultural techniques are actually supported by good evidence. One of the most commonly debated is that of chitting potatoes. So, with thousands of home-growers across the country starting to do this right now, I thought I’d take a look at what the science says.
Chitting potatoes is the traditional practice of placing seed potatoes in a light, frost-free spot in late winter to encourage sprouting. The argument is that this process artificially elongates the growing season, resulting in an earlier crop and greater yields. However, for home-growers low on space this can mean windowsills covered in egg cartons of shrivelled-looking spuds which, aside from not being exactly ornamental, can take away prime “window front” real estate for growing seedlings. So does this claim really stand up to the scientific test?