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Best yield - should you cut seed potatoes  RSS feed

 
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Hi,

I am not sure the best place for this topic, but this seems an option.

I am about to establish a wood-chip garden on bare soil, and also have 1.5kg of seed potatoes looking at me on our book case waiting to be planted out (it is spring here in New Zealand).   There are 16 which range between 50-120g (2-4oz).  I plan to keep covering them with wood chip, and spread out sideways later.   I have 8 acres farmland, and about 200 cubic metres of well composted wood chip with more arriving on a regular basis. 

I am trying to decide whether it is better to plant the potatoes whole or to cut them into pieces.  If I cut, I won't be treating with chemicals after.   

WE are in a very temperate climate near the sea.  We have 6+ months of frost free weather ahead at least, and summers average a maximum high of 22C   (71F).  So we have a long growing season ahead of us.

If I cut, we will get more plants, but will each plant give less potatoes?  What would be best n a hgh nutrient environment?


 
garden master
Posts: 1848
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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We have always cut our seed potato based on how many eyes are on the potato.  As far as I can remember we get one plant per eye and the yield is per plant.

I added your thread to the Plants forum to give you more exposure.

Here is a thread that might offer some help:

https://permies.com/t/55173/Permaculture-potato-growing
 
pollinator
Posts: 1819
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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The rule of thumb I hear a lot is that each piece should have two eyes. I always assumed one was for the plant, and the other for the root, but I never asked.

I have always cut my seed potatoes unless there were more than I had space to plant.

Theoretically, the more starch available, the more the plant can grow without need for external food, but I have never noticed much of a difference in yield or plant size. Perhaps beyond a certain point, the starches are simply utilised by something else in the soil.

You could, perhaps, do a small-scale trial. Divide only what seed potatoes are necessary for the amount of space available to plant, and plant some uncut. Just keep track of which are where, and take note of the comparative plant growth rates, size, and yield, and get back to us at the end of the season.

Otherwise, let us know how you proceed, and good luck.

-CK
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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It's like Anne says, one eye = 1 potato plant so cutting a seed potato so each piece has one eye means better spacing for more potato production than if you were to just plant whole potatoes.

It also helps to plant them in a  trench, then as the plant grows up you can add more supporting soil, wood chips, rotting straw around the plant and you will get more yield that way (here in the south we call that mounding).

I've grown potatoes in the soil, in containers in soil, in containers in wood chips and straw mixed together, my best results were in soil but the year I did the wood chips and straw mix, it was hard to keep enough water on them so the plants didn't fare well.
 
pollinator
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Last fall I threw whole potatoes on the ground and covered them with Hay and mulch.  When I harvested in spring I left the biggest potatoes in the ground.  I don't know if this will work but I'm trying it.  I'd like taters to run on autopilot.
 
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Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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I've grown potatoes from store potatoes. But that was back in the days before they treated them to keep them from sprouting. I used to take a bag of spuds and a knife. I cut the potatoes and let them fall into the ground. They grew quite well, thank you.

If I were selling seed potatoes I advise you to cut them so that two eyes were on each seed piece, I'd sell more seed potatoes. I've read recommendations that you cut them so that three eyes were on each of the spud seeds. I would raise the question whether those who suggest multiple eyes aren't treating their seed potatoes? I remember potatoes with sprouts a foot or more long. So hard to deal with. Maybe just a little treatment?

Next year I plan on growing potatoes again. My plans are to plant a couple varieties of "seed potatoes" and some organic potatoes from the store. I'll make sure the rows are totally filled out with the organic store potatoes.
 
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