Thursday, March 20, 2014

My first experiment with true potato seed

Most people are familiar with buying and planting seed potatoes. These are small potatoes you plant of a particular variety to get more of that variety. I have decided to try growing plants from true potato seed. because potatoes have more than one set of genes you never really know what you will come up with as they are pretty genetically diverse. Plant enough true seed and you are sure to come up with a seedling that is different and good enough to make your own variety.

Because the hot summer made my own potatoes abort their flowers I wasn't able to collect my own seed so I bought a small packet of seed from someone else. This packet of 20 seeds was a Russian variety called 'Asol'. Will my typical heavy handedness I only managed to get 5 seedlings to grow.

Seedling one.
This seedling started to produce tiny tubers almost from the week it germinated. You can see some small tubers at soil level. I am curious to see what is under the soil in a few weeks when the frost kills the top off.
It is currently about 15cm from the base to the top.

Seedling two.
This one is about the size of seedling one but with bigger leaves. No sign of tubers yet but it has time.

Seedling three.
This is a smaller plant with a different leaf type, It will be a close call whether it produces a tuber before the frost. It looks a bit sickly and may not survive.
Maybe it will surprise me and have a tuber under the soil.

Seedling four.
This is the biggest seedling. It is showing no sign of tubers at the soil level but it does have long stolons that can be seen going from the stem into the soil so I think it is tuberising.

Seedling five.
I can't decide yet if this tiny seedling is a natural dwarf or it is just sickly.
It has weird, round leaves and I might baby it along just to see what it grows into if it survives. It looks healthy enough, just very tiny.

Tomorrow I will update my experiment with true oca seeds.

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