This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Almost one of, if not the very first out-door seed planted in spring is the potato. Even before the frost was well out of the ground we have seen planters at work on land that had been roughly but deeply plowed in the fall. Of the varieties most desirable, there is no question that the White Mexican, or White Neshannock, as some call it, is best in quality, but it is not productive, and therefore to the market grower not profitable. To the person, however, who has land plenty, and wants early potatoes for his own use, there is not its superior, if indeed its equal. In West Jersey they grow a kind called Michigan White Sprout as their earliest sort, and by some it is regarded as a good sort; others object to it. Besides these, there is the Early June, Early Kidney, Cherry Blow, Monitor, etc., all of which, as well as others, have their friends. In planting, it is said that animal manures applied in the hill conduce to a watery character and poor flavor; of its truth we can not vouch, but in poor land we have no doubt of its increasing the crop. Experiments of years in succession have shown that well-ripened but medium-sized tubers planted whole, result in giving the most vigorous character of plant and the most even-sized tubers as the crop.
Large potatoes, planted whole, give a few extra large potatoes to each hill, while cut pieces of one or two eyes each do not give at first strong plants, and hence are later in maturing, and too often when mature have too many small and valueless tubers.