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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chitting Potatoes

Happy St. Patrick's Day! In this part of the world, St. Patty's Day is typically considered a good time to plant your potato crops. We'd like to have a really big potato crop at the community garden this year. Most people love potatoes, they store easily in the winter and, for the amount of space they take up in the garden you get a good return on your investment (each potato planted can produce as much as five pounds of harvest!) If you have your own garden this year, you can plant potatoes any time now. We'll put them in at the community garden just as soon as the ground isn't so soggy, and we get the tractor running. (Thanks for all your ideas for local tractor mechanics. We've got some good leads.)


If you haven't already, now is the time to start "chitting" any potatoes you've got sprouting under your sink. Chitting is a way to help the potatoes store up solar energy which makes them more likely to produce a big crop. The way to do this is to take the potatoes and put them near a window where they can get sunlight (don't put them in direct sun). They will start to turn a little green. If there are any long sprouts, they will harden off slightly making them less likely to snap off when we plant them. If you have potatoes larger than a hen's egg, with multiple "eyes", cut them so that each "eye has at least an egg-size piece of potato attached to it. After they have "greened up' a bit, and any cut parts have sealed over, they are ready to plant. Green potatoes are poisonous so don't eat them after chitting.


If all this is more than you want to take on right now, and you have sprouting potatoes you want to contribute, just drop them in front of the Alpine library door and send us an email that they're there so we can pick them up. We'll chit them and plant them in the garden.

Thanks to: Jack and Joanne: they found three of those carport frames that someone was going to take to the dump. These make excellent greenhouses (with a little bit of work). Thanks to the people at "Ten Rivers Food Web" for the warm welcome they have given us to link up with their site and help spread the word about our garden. They are a local group that advocates for healthy, local, organic solutions to food production and distribution. Click Here to see their website.

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