A week ago, I was chatting on Facebook with my friend Lucy Owsley-Goodman of Boulder Belt Eco-Farm and let her know that I had just received my order of potato seed from Wood Prairie Farm. She let me know in no uncertain terms that this year I needed to chit my potatoes. Lucy explained the process of chitting very simply as getting the eyes on the potato seed to sprout so that I'd get a higher production from them, and that what I had to do was lay the potato seed out in a container where they could get indirect light and warmth.
So I've done a tiny bit of research on the web to find out that home gardeners and smaller farmers are really the only people who do this. Commercial potato farms don't, I assume because of the time it takes and perhaps space limitations. And Lucy's description is 100% correct. If chitted properly, potato seed should produce more quickly and have better crop yield than if not chitted. I'm really beginning to like this word.
I've visited several sites now where they describe the process of chitting potatoes. It doesn't seem hard and while most chitting blog posts/articles describe using cardboard egg cartons, I don't have enough available, so I've decided to substitute with the lid off a case of paper. In one article, I read that if you put a layer of damp newspaper down before the potato seed, it helps the chitting process to occur more quickly, but since Lucy didn't mention it to me, I've not done this. I placed the potato seed in the cardboard box lid and used the different paper potato seed labels to separate each variety I purchased this year: Caribe, Reddale, Yukon Gold, King Harry and Cranberry if I've remembered correctly. I've set the box lid on the back of my living room couch and opened all the window coverings so that my little potato babies get all the indirect sunlight they could possibly need, and I've ensured that the tempature remains a steady 74 in the house by turning down the air conditioner thermostat. My husband's having fits about the temperature, but since we've both had the flu for 3 weeks I've been having 24-hour sweats as opposed to possibly hormone- and/or Niaspan-induced night sweats, so it doesn't feel the least bit chilly here in the house to me.
And now to wait for the chit to happen.