Of all the root vegetables I grow, it is the potatoes that give me the biggest thrill at harvest time. I love to stick my hands in the soil and retrieve the buried bounty, with a yield of eight to ten potatoes for every one that I plant.
Next, "cure" the cut pieces. Either set them out in the sun, or place them on a table or counter in a warm (about 70°F), moderately lit room for three to five days. This step permits the cuts to become calloused. Calloused seed potatoes will help prevent rot.
And speaking of rot, let's talk about the dreaded "potato blight." This fungal disease—Phytophthora infestans—was responsible for the Irish potato famine and it can destroy your entire crop, too. To reduce the chance of infection, never plant potatoes (or tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, such as eggplants or chili peppers) in the same patch of land without leaving an interval of at least three years. Also, promptly remove any volunteer potatoes that emerge in your garden. The disease overwinters in tubers left behind during the previous year’s harvest.