This technique produces huge yields, and all you need is a simple paring knife.
Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, April 1948
Republished in Organic Gardening magazine’s Special Collector’s Issue, February/March 2015
Illustrations by Steve Harrington
1. A potato tuber is a much enlarged and modified stem. In this illustration, the stem end is at the bottom. The eyes are really buds, each fed by a vein or feeder fiber that runs to the stem end of the tuber, indicated by the blue lines in the illustration. That is the way the tuber develops as it grows. If this feeder fiber is undisturbed in cutting, the new plant that develops from the sprouting eye will develop and feed through the same fiber.
2. Begin by holding the tuber with stem end downward. First remove a conical section around the stem end. Then, starting about 1/2 inch above an eye, cut toward the stem end, meeting the stem with the knife in each cut. Leave one or two healthy-looking eyes in each piece.
3. After air-drying for several days to develop a protective layer, cuttings are ready to plant. Dig a 4-inch deep trench, enrich it with compost, place the cuttings (eye side up) a foot apart, and cover with soil.