In honor of our recent completion of the 2014 potato planting season – here are some words about seed potatoes:

In most of Europe the use of uncut tubers for seed is favored, while here int eh U.S. and Canada we use cut seed.  Cutting tubers into seed involves risk because of the massive wounds that are inflicted on the tubers during the cutting process.  These wounds need to heal or “suberize” properly or stand loss and subsequent yield and quality losses can result.  In some production regions, the practice of storing the cut seed for a period of time to allow healing to occur before planting is a recommended, even a necessary, practice.

The healing of cut seed has three basic requirements:  Proper temperature (50-55 degrees F), oxygen (high airflow in storage), and high relative humidity (90%+).  It is also recommended that seed and soil temperatures be as closely matched as possible during planting.  The worst-case scenario is the placement of cold seed into warm, moist soil.  The resultant condensation on the seed can lead to soft rot decay problems.