Do you cut seed potatoes?

Sunny_Dee(6a KCMO)March 16, 2012

Hi all! I was just wondering if any of you prefer to cut/chit your seed potatoes or not. I grew potatoes last year with smaller seed potatoes and just left them whole after sprouting them. I had an ok crop but I'd like better results this year. (The seed I had last year may have been too young.)

I found this link which was very helpful. http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2412e/

I just wanted to see though, how many of you cut your potatoes and how many don't. Thanks in advance!

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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I cut large potatoes in two pieces on planting day or the day before. I leave medium and smaller ones whole. I believe it is better to leave plenty of potato to feed the plant. I think 2 good eyes are the ideal. Too many stalks tend to smaller potatoes which I don't want.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Some people will argue that you must cut seed potatoes while others will argue there is no need. The best argument I heard about this was if you do cut the seed potatoes that leaves a nice open wound for insect pests and plant diseases to enter.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 6:17AM
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bi11me(5b)

Most of the potatoes I grow are fingerlings/new potatoes, so I don't cut them, but I do pre-sprout them.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:43AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Kimm, You heard. . Have you ever tried it yourself. I have and see no problem.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Several years ago I planted both whole potatoes and cut potatoes and did not see any difference in yields. I have heard from several sources, sellers of seed potatoes, potato growers, horticulturists, people from Purdue as well as Michigan State, that cutting the seed potato can leave a nice open wound that insect pests and plant diseases can easily enter. I have read this in numerous gardening publications over the years as well as a mention in my local newspaper.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 6:33AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Unl.edu says that if you cut them do so a couple of days before planting to allow them to callus and prevent diseases. I believe wayne above mentioned this.

Ndsu.edu says to warm to 50-55 F before cutting an allow to callus for 10 days.

The next two site:.edu I found didn't discuss it.

Then clemson.edu said allow to callus for 3-5 days.

etc. etc. etc.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Michael

I've always cut to 2-3 eyes cause I'm a cheapskate and have always had good luck with dipping the exposed cut in powdered sulfur and waiting about 5-7 days to plant, never had any disease or insect problems..... here. It makes sense if one is planting into cold, wet soils where the seed piece will be slow to get going to pre-sprout to get the machinery going, so to speak, in order to minimize disease and get the leaves up and going sooner.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 10:02PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I chit my seed pieces and they take off arunnin when they hit the ground. I also don't plant them in March no matter what grandpa did.

Chitting is laying the potatoes out on newspaper in moderate light and heat. The sprouts will be short, sturdy, green, and rearing to go.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Michael

Wayne; what, you don't ALWAYS plant on St. Paddy's day either :)?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:50PM
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peter_6

I never cut seed potatoes; I prefer to buy small ones. I grow about 80 to 90, sometimes more, so the cost is small. If I were growing, say, 25' by 25', I would cut the seed potatoes for economy. By the by, my signal for the first planting of potatoes is when the Forsythia blooms, which can be taken as a universal signal obviously. But here (S.E.Michigan) the Forsythia has been in full bloom for 4 to 5 days now -- about 3 or 4 weeks ahead of normal. But I'm holding off, allowing for an April freeze. Regards, Peter.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:34PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Michael, My grandfather used to dip the cut sides of his seed potatoes in sulfur but I never knew exactly why. I assume that it was to protect the potato in some way. Any idea why it is used? luke

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:16AM
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dicot

Sulfur prevents rot. I do the same, but by dipping the cut area into 3% hydrogen peroxide, which I think speeds the cut oxidizing to a protective skin. Then I'll plant the cut pieces as soon as an hour later. I haven't had any problems so far.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Michael

Luke: used in the cut end dip method, S has fungicidal properties when the piece hits the soil, might help callus over the exposed cut, who knows?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:09AM
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