To chit or not to chit…..that is the question. Growing potatoes may be considered a bit old fashioned or pointless in this age of Walmart and grocery super centers. But if you want anything other than the standard Russet or Yukon Gold, you have to grow your own or pay a premium at a specialty grocery. I love the gourmet fingerling potatoes including the Rose Finn Apple, French and La Ratte. Once you look at a catalog like the Maine Potato Lady, you find out how truly potato deprived we really are. Now is the time to order a few pounds and begin the chitting process, so they have a head start before planting in the kitchen garden. I place my seed potatoes in plastic egg cartons on a cool window sill in my enclosed porch. Once the sprouts appear and the weather cooperates, they are ready for planting. Some experts feel that the chitting process is a unnecessary step, but I find that a faster sprouting plant does not get lost in the garden, making early weeding much easier and of course faster gratification is always important.
Most home vegetable gardeners don’t have the room that I have for a full kitchen garden, so potatoes are usually omitted from most gardener’s list. But potatoes don’t have to be grown in the plot, they can be grown in barrels and other containers to save valuable room in the garden. Even with the size of my garden, I am considering alternatives in order to save space for other vegetables. I love these willow and bamboo towers that I found photos of online. They are practical and look good. You could use willow or bamboo screen rolls to construct these and have an instant potato garden. Willow screen is available online from the Plow and Hearth catalog in different heights, and I know some garden centers also have it available. Whiskey barrels and garbage are also great alternatives. There is one website that claims you can grow 100 pounds of potatoes in one barrel. So whether you choose to chit or not…grow a few potatoes please.