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Chitting Potatoes and Sowing Onions

According to the weatherman, today is cloudy with sunny intervals. According to the window, it poured down all morning and now everywhere is soggy.

So some indoor work seemed appropriate.

Potatoes first.

The potato order arrived yesterday and now I have started chitting (‘ch’ as in chain) them. This is a fancy word that amuses my non-English friends and basically means sprouting.

The idea is to keep the potatoes cool and frost free in the light so that they start producing sprouts. These are best when they are short and thick rather than long and straggly.

Last year we used the spare bedroom but now we are using the new greenhouse, which with its twinwall polycarbonate construction is cool but has remained frost free. Neither has it got really hot under the clouds

You’re supposed to place them ‘eye end up‘ , the eyes being where they sprout from. I find it hard to always see where the eyes are and just leave them in seed trays until they start sprouting.

Then I can put them in old egg boxes, correct side up.

I also spray them every couple of weeks with seaweed solution – I heard this really helps and it can do not harm.

I also sowed some onions.

Normally I have grown onions from sets. They’ve been pretty successful but I’ve read that seed grown onions keep better and they are cheaper as well.

Now getting the super fine tilth on my soil is near impossible so I tend to start a lot of things off in pots. I’m trying two methods with the onions.

  1. Growing 4 to 6 in a large module (15 to the tray) that will be planted at a wide spacing as a clump.

  2. Growing 1 per module for a closer spacing in smaller modules (30 to the tray) at a normal onion spacing.

The variety is Red Baron – one of our favourites – and I’ll grow some white onions from sets. It will be interesting to compare success rates.

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