We grew Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold potatoes this year. In our research on potato planting, we discovered theories that we felt compelled to test. Common planting wisdom holds that a potato with 2 to 3 eyes – no more, no less – will give the maximum yield. (This is achieved either by planting small potatoes whole or by cutting larger potatoes into pieces.) One source put forth that planting small whole potatoes yields a small quantity of large potatoes, while planting whole large potatoes yields a larger number of small potatoes.
Since two bags of seed potatoes were more than enough for our 6’ x 9’ plot, we devised the following experiment. For each variety, we planted a row of small uncut potatoes, a row of potato pieces and a half-row of large uncut potatoes. We carefully documented the yield from each plant at harvest.
There wasn’t any noticeable difference in the size or number of potatoes based on the type or size of the planted pieces. However, some of the large whole potatoes rotted and left a foul mess at the center of the plant. More noticeable was that the plants at the perimeter gave a somewhat better yield, presumably because they received more sunlight than those in the thick of the plot.