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.