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Cut And Uncut Seed

Many growers argue that potatoes should be planted whole. The only plausible theory in support of whole seed is, that the few eyes that do start have a greater supply of starch available from which to obtain nutriment until the plant can draw support from the soil and atmosphere. But experiments also demonstrate that if all the eyes except one or two near the middle be cut out of the seed-potato, such seed will push with the greatest possible vigor. Many eyes of the uncut seed start, but the stronger soon overpower the weaker, and finally starve them out. A plot planted with three small, uncut potatoes to the hill, and another planted with three pieces of two eyes each to the hill, will not show much difference in number of vines during the growing season. The poor results sometimes attending cut seed are almost always traceable to improper seed improperly cut. Only large, mature, sound tubers should be used. Cut them in pieces of two or three eyes each, taking pains to secure around each eye as much flesh as possible, also under the eye to the centre of the tuber. Experiments prove that eyes from the "seed end" produce potatoes that mature earliest; they are also smallest. Those from the large or stem end are largest, latest, and least in numbers. Eyes from the middle produce tubers of very uniform size. If small, ill-shaped potatoes be planted on the same ground for three successive years, the results will give the best variety a bad name. Much is gained by changing seed. No two varieties are made up of the same constituents exactly in the same proportion; hence, a soil may be exhausted for the best development of one, and still be fitted to meet the demands of another. Even when the same variety is desired, experience shows the great benefit of planting seed grown on a different soil. The best and most extensive growers procure new seed every two or three years, and many insist on changing seed every year; and undoubtedly the crop is often doubled by the practice.

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