Cutting seed potatoes in half

Cutting Seed Potatoes In Half

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This is one of those gardening things that some people do while others will have never even heard of.

Cutting your seed potatoes in half to get extra seed potatoes.

The premise is simple enough: you cut your seed potato in half before planting, doubling the number of plants you get.

But does this work? And if the plants grow, do you get the same-sized harvest?

I was intrigued to find out, so I ran a mini-trial of my own this year, using Charlotte potatoes.

I had four bags filled with the same compost, and then two would have half a seed potato in and the other two a full one.

Would the half grow? Would the harvest be the same? Let’s find out.

The potatoes
The potatoes

Here are the potatoes, full, half, full, half from right to left. They are all in the same compost and will be grown in the same spot.

When cutting your potatoes in half, you need to let them cure for a bit and skin over the wound before planting – just a little tip if you do decide to do this yourself.

The Results

So now it’s time to harvest the spuds and see the result.

These were Charlotte potatoes, so an early type which means we are expecting to harvest smaller “new” potatoes.

Looking at the foliage things don’t look too different, but were not bothered about the foliage – time to find out what happened underground.

The harvest of our first tuber, which was cut in half, comes in at 277.7g

And the second half tuber comes in at 188.2g

The first full tuber harvest comes in at 336.2g

And the second full tuber comes in at 316.5g

Half or fullHarvest
Half277.7
Half188.2
Full336.2
Full316.5

So it’s pretty clear already that you will get a much smaller harvest if you cut your seed potatoes in half, but how much smaller?

Well, when we combine the numbers, we get 465.9g vs 652.7g

That’s a whopping 40% larger harvest if you use full-seed potatoes rather than cutting them in half.

This is just a small trial with only four plants in it, but it has shown a very clear difference.

Next year I will be trialling this again but with maincrops, so keep your eyes peeled for that and why not sign up for my newsletter?

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6 Comments

  1. Two halves are not the same as two whole. 4 halves are the same as two whole.
    With 6 halves from your 3 potatoes you would have harvested more than 3 full.
    Stay safe.
    Have fun.

  2. You give the results for a two full potatoes and two half potatoes but when you compare like for like you are getting more (by weight) from the half potatoes (using two potatoes) (465.9g x2) than you achieve from the two potatoes planted whole (652.7g).

  3. Would it be right to say that planting a whole potatoes brought 366.2 g and planting one potatoe in two half’s brought 465.9g (even though it took more space).

    Looking at it this way, it looks like more produce and therefore success.

    What do you think? Which method would you choose?

    Thanks

    Jana

    1. Quite a few people have said this and in the end i guess it all comes down to space. If you have lots of room to grow your potatoes then two halfs does result in more, but if you are restricted then you are much better planting full seed potatoes

  4. Yes, as others have noted, if you’re going for quantity, cut in half…. however I agree Patient Gardener, that the final conclusion depends on space. Limited space gives you a better harvest with full potatoes, however more space gives you a better harvest with cutting each potato in half. Very interesting experiment! I will be trying to grow my first potatoes this year… full!

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