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Potatoes
Chitting http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?RNJJN General Overview from an Internet site.

Seed tubers are best 'chitted' or sprouted. Look closely at the potatoes and you should see more eyes at the crown - often there are three or four, sometimes five, in a cluster. On some tubers, particularly the roundish shaped types, they may be placed off centre. If these are allowed to grow they will produce mainly small tubers. Using a potato peeler or a small pointed knife remove all the eyes in the cluster by scooping approximately one eighth of an inch (3mm) deep, which should eliminate any regrowth. Without the crown cluster eyes, the tuber's food reserves will be directed to shoulder and side eyes. Reject all tubers showing the slightest sign of disease. Cutting out the diseased part, such as dry rot or gangrene, is no answer because if it is planted the diseased tubers will infect the soil.

Set treated tubers, crown up, on egg trays, thus allowing space for the sprouts to develop. They do not require high temperatures, but should be kept in full light and free from extreme cold or frost.This will encourage sturdy sprouts. Sprouts will form within a few weeks, dark blue or green, or deep pink or red, depending upon the cultivar, by planting time. By chitting we may select the eyes and encourage good sturdy sprouts before planting to produce earlier, improved crops.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?QOGGE Chitting Picture indicating procedure. 16 March 2008 My Chitting method.

Seed potatoes were purchased 16 March 2008. Some were already sprouted, so it was easy to remove the clustered sprouts. This is my method. I use a potato peeler and remove a plug consisting of the clustered sprouts. This is probaly only feasible in a home garden, due to the labour and expense involved.

The types of potatoes are Kennebec, Superior, Chieftain.

Although unsprouted tubers can be planted, the chitted ones benefit from their flying start, and vigorous sprouts. Early cultivars will crop sooner and more heavily if chitted, so I am told.

Chitting later season cultivars results in earlier foliage before blight or drought strike and they mature earlier and can be gathered before slugs damage the tubers, if these conditions are prevelant in your area.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?IQVHT 6 April 2008. Chitting after 21 days. The sprouts take the colour of the particular potato. The potatoes will be planted in about two weeks time.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?FOIUV 23 May 2008 Potato Growth. Potatoes are planted 12 inches apart, and row spacing is 18 inches.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?ZLQXU 31 May 2008 Potatoes hilled. It rained last night and the potatoes were hilled, and compost was placed in the valleys formed to trap the moisture and to add additional nutrients.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?HOMUR Potatoe 16 June 2008 Doing Well

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?QAWRI 1 July 2008 Potato Seed Pod

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?ADDQJ 15 July 2008 First harvest of potatoes. The ground is dry. The tubers probably wont grow much more. Most of the crop will be left until the tops die off completely.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?CCZOA 18 July 2008 How Potatoes grow.
The tubers are formed in a circle, at about the same level around the seed potato. There are no shoots emanating from the stalk. Hilling is necessary, since the tubers push through the soil, and when exposed to light they turn green indicating an alkaloid called solanine, which is harmful to ingest. The eyes of potatoes also have solanine, which indicates that they should be removed prior to cooking.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?DMKNV 18 July 2008 Superior Potatoes. Comparing chitted to Not Chitted Plants.
Two plants were compared as to the production of the potatoes produced, one seed potato was chitted, and the other was not. At first look, visual inspection indicates that the chitted plant produced larger tubers. I have 18 more plants to compare, so will have a better idea as to the merits of chitting potatoes.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?FOAWC 18 July 2008 Effect on a potato that is exposed to light

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?ZSMUK 4 August 2008 Digging some potatoes.
I dug four plants today to get a preliminary look at the merits of chitting or not chitting. It is hard to draw conclusions from this small sample. The Superior looks better not chitted, and the Chiefton looks slightly better chitted. I have more plants to compare. All plants are more than acceptable.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?CXZUR 11 August 2008 Chieftain Potato Comparing Not chitted to chitted by weight.
The samples of Chieftain taken today indicates that chitted surpassed NOT chilled by a moderately significient margin (699 grams). The chitted total weight was 2624 grams, and the not chitted was 1925 grams. The largest chitted potato weighed 724 grams and the largest not chitted weighed 440 grams.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?AUNKD 13 August 2008 Potato Seeds
Potato seed pods were collected from my potato patch. The pods were on the ground under the almost spent vegetation. I am going to treat the pods similar to drying tomato seeds (fermenting and drying), when the pods are a bit more dry. The seeds will be planted in a bed to form little potatoes and these will then be planted. Apparently seeds do not produce a similar potato as the parent, and revert back to characteristics of original parents. This is how new strains are produced. The tubers may be better or worse depending upon chance. I could only distinguish the Russian Blue in a separate patch, so mixed the Kennebec, Superior and Chieftain in one batch.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?SUTFA 15 August 2008 Superior Potatoes from 12 plants
Digging the last of the Superior Potatoes. There were 12 plants in total remaining, and two were chitted. The average weight of the chitted potatoes from each plant was 1630 grams, and the average weight of the not chitted was 1403 grams. No conclusion can be drawn from this small sample regarding chitting for Superior potatoes, but not chitted has a slight edge. The total weight of the 12 plants was 17.29 kilograms or 38 pounds. Planting to harvest was 119 days.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?MWPZB 19 August 2008 Chieftain Potato Harvest 10 plants
The last of the Pontiac Potatoes were harvested today. The total weight was 20kg or about 45 pound, or about 2 kg or 4.5 pounds per plant. My thinking is to chit the potatoes but do not remove any eyes, since my belief is the more vegetation present the healthier the tubers. This is just a view at this time.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?BQJFO 20 August 2008 Kennebec Potatoes.
Kennebec Potatoes harvested today. The tuber has some angular features, and I will not be growing this type next year. My opinion is Superior and Chieftain are better choices. There is no significant difference between chitted and NOT chitted. I will chit next year without removing the main eye cluster, which I did in 2007. Total weight was 23 kg from 13 plants for an average weight per plant of 1769g about 4.4 lbs per plant.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?WWZGR 20 August 2008 Potato Storage
Common paper yard bags were used for storage. These are reasonably light proof, and allow some air to penetrate, and are readily available. The potatoes are stored in the coolest part of my house in the dark, under the basement stairs.

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?PRMZO 21 August 2008 Russian Blue Potatoes

One plant was dug today. the total weight of the tubers was 1800 grams or about 4 lbs. The vegetation was still green, so it is a bit early to remove from the ground for full production. A few of the tubers were cooked in a Dutch Oven at 400F for 50 minutes. The texture is more fine grained than most potatoes, and the tuber heavier than most potatoes of the same size. I ate skins and all, and other than the colour one would hardly know the difference from our normal potato. This potato originated in South America, and only in recent years is it becoming more popular. I have six more plants and will dig after the vegetation dies.
 

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Aren't potatoes fun?
My friend had a sprouted one from his bag of taters from the store, so I took it home and planted it. Pretty much ignored it except for a little water now and then (much too little in our desert climate). It grew beautifully, then something ate the leaves to skeletons, so I ignored it more, thinking it was dead. Low and behold, I harvested two perfect little potatoes!
 
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