Alan Titchmarsh provides advice for sprouting seed potatoes
Gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh often shares his top tips for looking after indoor plants and gardens during every season. Gardening early on in the year may not sound appealing but with more Britons stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, gardening has surged in popularity. For those looking to grow their own potatoes this year, Alan has revealed an easier way to plant them.
Alan explained why chitting (sprouting) seed potatoes offers a better yield than growing potatoes from scratch in a video for Waitrose.
Alan said: “If you love your potatoes – your homegrown ones – now is the time to be thinking about sprouting those seed potatoes for planting in a few weeks time.
“You can buy bags of them and you can see on them, they have little, tiny buds.”
Despite the temptation to use the potatoes at the back of the cupboard, Alan said there’s a good reason for not using them.
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“Don’t use those old spuds underneath the sink that are beginning to sprout because they won’t be as good as these seed potatoes which are guaranteed virus-free which means they will crop heavily,” Alan said.
“The ones under the sink, they will yield some spuds but not many.”
Alan explained the sprouts on the potatoes need to be longer than just buds before they’re planted.
He then explained where to find the buds and what to look out for.
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“You’ll always find them at what is called the ‘rose-end’ of the potato,” he added.
Alan said that on one end of the potato there is a “belly button” which is where it was attached to the parent plant.
The “rose-end” is where all the buds are on the other end of the potato.
Alan explained you have to wait for the buds to sprout before you plant them.
The gardening expert explained if you plant them while the buds are short, they will take longer to crop.
Alan suggested they should be about an inch long.
“Get those little sprouts to grow about an inch long and they’ll crop faster.”
If you’re wondering how to make the buds grow, Alan had an easy suggestion.
“You stack them on your window sill in an egg box with those rose ends up and when they start to grow about an inch long, that’s when they’re ready for planting out.”
Alan said to wait until early March “for a decent spell of weather” before planting them in the ground.
Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs on ITV on Sunday at 10am.
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