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Monday, March 21, 2011
Preparing potato seed pieces for planting.
Yukon Gold and Purple
Majesty cut for planting
Preparing potatoes for planting may require cutting the tubers into pieces. If the potatoes are two inches in diameter they can planted whole. If they are larger they need to be cut into smaller pieces.
Each piece should be 2 ounces (about 2 inches in diameter) or slightly larger. Each piece needs to have 2, 3 or more eyes.
Once cut, the pieces need to be placed where the temperature is 50 - 55 degrees F. and has high humidity. Placing the pieces in a plastic bag helps retain the humidity. You may need to open the bag or poke holes in it to prevent water from accumulating in the bag and rotting the seed pieces. Keep an eye on this process.
If you are planting a large number of potatoes, putting them in a pile helps retain the moist warm air needed for suberization to take place. This process results in a layer of suberin forming over the cut surface. This layer helps prevent rot diseases from destroying the seed piece and developing potato plant.
It usually take 7 to 10 days before this protective layer is adequately developed so plan on cutting your potatoes into 2 ounce pieces at least a week prior to planting.
Since rot organisms remain in the soil for several years after potatoes have been growing in a section of the garden be sure to rotate your crops. Don't plant potatoes back in the same area for at least 3 years. Four years is a better rotation schedule.