How to Grow Potatoes: Step 1 “Chitting”

If you want to grow your own potatoes with your children all you need are seed potatoes (which you can buy from a trusted seed catalogue or a garden centre) and egg boxes or trays to put the potatoes in.  If you are planting in a container like an old bin you only need five potatoes.  We decided to use a few more and we will choose the best to plant in March after the “chitting”.

Our first early variety is the finely named “International Kidney,” which is a Jersey Royal but you aren’t allowed to call them that unless they are actually grown on Jersey.

Our second early variety is “Charlotte” because I love these potatoes in salads in the summer and we wanted to go for something recognisable in our first year.

“Chitting” sounds mysterious but it is simple and I am assured that if you go to the trouble then you will be rewarded with a larger crop.  All you do is take your seed potatoes and choose the end that has the most ‘eyes’ (black spots and sticky-out bits to novices like me).

Then, put the potatoes in the egg boxes with the ‘eyes’ facing upwards. The ‘eyes’ become the shoots from which your potato crop will grow (all being well).  Blue found choosing the potatoes with the best ‘eyes’ very exciting and so we were thankful that we had bought a few extra as a number were dropped, chipped or damaged and can’t be used for planting.  If you also have an eager toddler I urge you to purchase a few spare seed potatoes as insurance!

You can put your egg boxes of potatoes in a cool room on the windowsill and in 4-6 weeks they should have sprouts between 1-2.5cm long.  We have put our potatoes on a windowsill in the spare room and turned the radiator off to keep the temperature down.

In March, when we plant the seed potatoes out, I will post about what to do next.  If you are planning to grow potatoes this year do let me know how you get on and if you are an expert and can offer any advice or tips then I would love to hear from you.

So now the waiting begins as we “chit” until March!

That is a lot of “chit”.

I will shut up now.


  1. Melksham Mum says

    Argh! This fills me with dread – in a old way. The OH has been looking through his seed catalogues and getting excited by seed potatoes in the local garden centre. Which is lovely – nothing beats a homegrown potato for taste I know. I just dread the collection of egg boxes and the chitting potatoes taking over the dining room!!

    • says

      Does he do a lot? We are definitely starting small with just around 10 potatoes in the spare bedroom so they don’t take over the house. I envy anyone with a greenhouse.

    • says

      Thanks, it isn’t always easy to get an eager toddler involved but I am keen for my little man to make growing a habit for a lifetime.

  2. says

    Great post. I do a lot of gardening with my three year old son. Well, to be more accurate we spend a lot of time in the garden together. He does a good line in finding nettles to fall into, pulling up my seedlings and replanting weeds while I frantically try and get a little bit of actual gardening done. It’s great fun though and such a wonderful learning process for children. Great post. I shall be following your gardening exploits with much interest. x

    • says

      It is hard to get ‘proper’ gardening done when you have one eye on a curious child! My son seems to want to put everything in his mouth. I hope you enjoy watching our garden grow this year x

  3. Coombemill says

    Fantastic, how simple is that! We had a go last year but the kids forgot about them! Might have another go again now you have reminded me! Thank you for sharing the idea on Country Kids.

  4. Mari says

    Wow, I’m inspired and shall be visiting the garden centre this weekend looking for seed potatoes. I’ve always wanted to give this a go and it will give the girls something to do too.

    • says

      Thanks Mari, our garden centre was full of seed potatoes as there isn’t much else going on garden-wise this month. I hope you find some and that your girls enjoy the process x

    • says

      I am starting to worry that mine aren’t in a light enough place and the sprouts will be limp and not ‘good enough’. Looking forward to seeing how yours come on. I have a gardening with kids G+ community if you fancy joining in?

Add Your Comment

CommentLuv badge