Seedybeans Blog

Celebrating the Humble Harvests of High Desert Homesteading

Potato Planning

 

Well the next day to plant root crops is Monday, March 27th— Full moon…So what am I doing tonight– Chitting potatoes.   Chitting you ask, why yes, chitting.  I am cutting up the little potatoes chef Andre passed to me that he bought from farmers market, but unfortunately left under a sink somewhere to forget about.  Somehow that guy is totally in sync with me, because last year, end of March he came out of the kitchen with a huge bowl of sprouting potatoes too.  Luckily I intervened and put them in the ground before the compost.  They went on to produce a fabulous crop I must say.

So many home gardeners just don’t bother: potatoes take space and you can get such great ones at market for cheap, why bother?  Well to begin, kids love, love, love digging potatoes.  Every garden I have ever loved that is kid friendly has a potato patch, it is just, well, right. Not to mention they are amazingly delicious when home-grown and gardeners have access to hundreds of type,  where are simple buyers we are oh, so limited.  I think the best supplier is Ronnigers, conveniently located in near by Colorado, if you are in the market.

What is so great about Potatoes?

 First off, potatoes rank second, being beat by soy beans when it comes to protein produced per acre.  Because of all this protein they rank third in NPU (Net Protein Utilization) Eggs ranking 100, Beef 80 and potatoes 71.  That means “The high NPU of potatoes means that they can satisfy the protein requirement of more people per acre than any major crop”…..Need I praise more!?

They are simply fantastic and a must for school gardens.  If you insist you don’t have the space, I understand.  Think containers… We grew potatoes last year in these old plastic drums a student showed up with and  some artistic students painted them ( no pics available).  Watering was a breeze, as I ran a drip line to them, and harvest, well a simple dump.

So you are convinced… Great.. Now Chitting….

As far as I know chitting is imply a word for cutting seed potatoes up so that one can produce many plants.  It is pretty simply really, it is asexual propagation.  Potatoes do make seeds, but, they are much more easily and productively grown from cloning.  Chitting is imply getting more for your money.  You can chit any seed potatoes (ones sprouting under your sink or those you order from the catalog).  A few rules of thumb:  you want about 3 eyes on the piece you cut, less than that and the potatoes should stay whole.  Too many eyes and the plant will create too many stems and tubers to get a good yield.  

Once you cut the little guys you need to let them dry out and heal.  If you plant immediately they will be susceptible to infection, like any open wound put in dirt.  

You should store them in a humid place with diffuse light.  I will put mine in the green house in a covered basket so air can flow around them but not be in direct sun.  5- 10 days should heal them up good, it will be 6 till the full moon, that should do it.  They will look like this when they are ready.

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2 Comments»

  Dave wrote @

great info, thanks. what about onions. Is that a similar process? I am always buying onions and potatoes and wish that I could just walk out to the back yard and pull them from the ground.

  seedybeans wrote @

Tis the season for onions too. I will write more on that, cause Mon-Wed are root days–Full moon– perfect for planting onions!!


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