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Do potatoes have to be cut and cured before planting?

 
gardener & bricolagier
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I have never grown potatoes, only sweet potatoes. I know that traditionally you cut them into chunks and dry them out a bit before you plant them. Is that required? If I turn dirt Tuesday, and it's planning to rain Thursday, can I put my potatoes, which haven't been cut yet, into the ground Tuesday? If it's going to rain Thurs-Sat, off and on, is this just a bad idea? Wondering if wet tatos + rain == mush.

Soil is ...hm... not sure about where I'm planting, haven't dug into it. Soil in this area in general is good topsoil over a sticky clay subsoil, with excess rocks through it all. No clue if that area has ever been turned. I dumped leaves on it last fall, about 1 foot deep all over, and I'll be turning them in, rough turn with a mattock only, not fine tilling.

Advice would be appreciated :)
Thank you!
:D
 
steward
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I cut mine some years and put whole taters in the ground others.  I don't cure them either.  BUT, I have sandy soil.  I'm not sure if that matters but it could be a difference.  I get plenty of volunteer taters from tubers I missed in the fall and those weren't cut or cured at all :)  But they also are in sandy soil...  

Do you need to mattock the leaves in?  I just leave them on the surface.  Pull them back and hand dig a small cat hole and put in the tater.  
 
pollinator
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Rough turning with a mattock is ok. Potatoes don't require fine loose soil. In fact, they grow well right in coarse compost. And even atop decent soil and then covered with compost or thick mulch. I've seen them growing in bins of semi decomposed straw. It's an amazing plant.

You don't need to cut the tubers. And if you cut them, they don't need to be cured. At least, that's been my own experience.

Once upon a time I use to cut my potatoes in order to get the most number of plants. But an old gardener told me that I'd do just as well not cutting them and thus use less garden space. Big seed potatoes produce bigger more robust plants, and thus more potatoes for harvesting. The smaller the seed potato piece, the less potatoes produced. I tried this advice and found it to be true. So now I plant the big potatoes whole. No cutting.
 
steward
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My community's tradition is to cut potatoes immediately before planting them. We don't dry them after cutting.
 
pollinator
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For what its worth, the advice I was given here (very different from Joseph's climate) was to cut them to maximize starts, same with sweet potato. The additional sugars in the tuber tend to rot anyway, since the ancestral plants would be doing this with grape-sized tubers.

The only difference is if you have a problem with wire worms, then the benefit of an intact skin is worth it. I am not growing them this year, but I used to save little ones for replanting (just need  break from them!) , and also grow smaller-tuber varieties.  Also, I was told to expose them to UV to green the skin, which causes eyes to sprout and also makes the skin resistant to pests.
 
pioneer
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I don't dry mine either.  I either cut them and plant them immediately or stick a whole potato in the ground.  I am planting in heavy clay.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Awesome! Thank you all!!! Tatos going in as they are, before it rains.

I use a mattock because it's the garden tool that hurts me least, a shovel is incredibly painful, cat holes with a shovel would cripple me today, been having bad back/knees/feet issues (had an MRI done the other day, haven't gotten results yet) but mattock is always my easiest tool. I'll chunk the leaves in just to uncompact and lighten the soil a bit, this isn't dirt I was planning to plant in at all, it's probably not in good shape.

I have no quantity of mulch, I'll actually be putting in to start with cardboard held down by bricks, between plants to keep down weeds because that's what's available. I'll improve it if I can, probably grass cuttings will be added later. This was not scheduled to happen, I'm winging it :D
 
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I cut mine and place in paper bag or cardboard box to scab over. Needed? Probably not. My guess is that it protects it from prolonged excess water saturation for the short term. It may be needed at ground level moreso than in a raised bed. If you are not subject to swampy conditions, probably not needed at all.

Doing this does give extra time for the eyes to grow. I think that is beneficial. It allows you to cull out the ones that didnt develop.
 
gardener
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We just plant the whole potato, usually in a year old straw bale (pretty well decomposed in one year) then we walk away.
Sweets I grow the slips by placing the "seed potato" in a shallow bowl of water and wait till the slips show some root tips at the junction of slip and potato, then I slice it off and plant it, usually I get around four slips per seed sweet potato.
 
gardener
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Ditto what Redhawk said: plant sparingly, reap sparingly.

Drop the whole potato in the ground.  The growing plant will need all that starch to stool a large set of roots.  Yes, you can cut them and get a few more plants, but they'll be much smaller and in the end, you'll get a much smaller harvest.

But to answer the original question, yes, its recommended that you let the cut potatoes scab over for a day before you plant them.
 
pollinator
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We always cut and planted immediately.  One eye per piece.  Potatoes with only one eye or damaged eyes planted whole.
 
Pearl Sutton
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The soil in that area turned out to be much better than I expected, nice surprise. Rain is coming in heavy, and it will freeze for a few nights, seems like a bad mix to me, didn't plant them, although the dirt is ready. I have more leaves than I thought  I did, I'll mulch some things with leaves. I chunked some leaves into the potato area, so that soil is lighter.

Thank you all for comments :)
Weird for me to post in "gardening for beginners" since I was a beginner 45 years ago. But potatoes won't grow in NM, only sweet potatoes, so this is new to me. I want a category for "gardening for people who have changed zones" to maintain my dignity! Beginner indeed, hmph.  :D

:D




 
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