Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chitting the Time Away

This chitty post will be short. I want to talk about 2 things- chitting potatoes and dividing plants (aka garden frugality).

First, chitting is the process of allowing your "seed" (nothing seed about them) potatoes to grow some buds before planting them. It isn't necessary, but it does give one the sense that they are at least doing something before they went in the ground. Put them in a dry egg carton and set in a cool and bright area until they grow little stems and roots. If you please, you can cut (before or after chitting) them into smaller chunks with 3 "eyes" each. If you do cut them, allow them to dry (callous over) for a day or so before planting. Cutting is up to you and obviously, if you choose to do this, you will have more plants.

These are my Kennebecs that arrived this week. One good thing about the process of chitting is that if your garden isn't ready or the ground is too wet you can wait to put the potatoes in the ground and just say you weren't procrastinating, but rather chitting the time away.
Kennebec potatoes
Would you rather pay $10 for 1, 1 gallon plant or $2 for 5 smaller plants that will grow to be the same size this season as the 1, $10 plant? Well, if you are like me you would prefer 5, $2 plants, because I'm frugal like that. Here is what you do. Some, but not all plants, will be divisible when you purchase them at the nursery. I always look for the plant with a base (where the plant comes out of the soil) that is taking up the most room in the pot or another way of putting this is that there are multiple stems arising from the soil. I've done this with sedums, hostas, grasses and I will show you the example of Carex (sedge).  You will not do this with woody plants.

Take the plant out of the pot and lay it on a flat surface on its side. Using a serrated knife cut through the base of the plant down the middle and then repeat with the 2 halves until you get as many plants as you can out of it.
Here, I managed to make 5 plants from the 1, $10 sedge (Carex testacea or Orange Sedge) I bought.
Don't worry too much about the surgery bit of this. You won't kill the plant and you won't hear it scream anyway.
Carex testacea- Orange Sedge

That's it folks. Two ways to make more plants. 

1 comment:

Zinniagirl said...

Nice botany refresher , Laura!