Solution for Heikki Harrinen’s potatoes

DILEMMA: Master potato farmer Heikki Harrinen has ordered a new variety of potato for his farm in Lapua, and now he wants to determine the effect of the cultivation area on the variety’s growth rate.

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Solution for Heikki Harrinen’s potatoes

In a perfect solution, the field features plots of all possible sizes (1 m², 2 m², …).

We can calculate that, because the total area of the field is 169 m², it may comprise no more than 17 plots of different sizes:

the minimum area of 17 plots is 1+2+3+…+17 = 153 m²

the minimum area of 18 plots is 171 m²

Therefore, the field can be divided into 17 plots at most. The challenging part is to make all the plots different in shape.

On the right, we present one possible solution to the problem.