Growing potatoes from seed.
For some reason gardeners avoid propagating potatoes from seeds.Probably it is the fear of loosing its "domestic traits" and becoming small, low yelding and having bad kitchen properties. I have found thet to be not true. They variate, but does not get "wild" in one generation.Many modern varieties are triploids. How many cromosones my seedlings have, I do not know, and to be honest, iI dont care.
I select the potatoes in early and late, for practical reasons, but like to keep them as varied as possible when it comes to colours. A potato stock of single individuals are of course more tolerant to any diseases then clones, and you also have the possibility to select out anything unhealthy. I also select them for late growing to assure good keeping.
The seeds I take from the green "tomato" on the potato plant. When they are ripe, the fruit falls off. In can be ripened indoor if not ripe. The ripening potato fruit gets softer and softer, and i have even had great germination from totally rotten fruits. The seeds i get out the same way as tomato seeds. I crush them and leave them to ferment with a little bit of water for a few days. Then i wash away the fruitflesh. The seeds usually fall to the bottom in water. Then I dry them. I am not so fussy about the seeds being totally clean.
I seed them out directly after the last frost. The first year the tubers are very small, and i grow them one more season before I select them. If pregrown in a greenhouse, you could probabnly get a close to normal harvest the first year, but I prefer to grow them in natural conditions.
The last three years i have had not one single colorado beetle, even if growers around me are having the crops eaten up by them. The reason I beleve is not so much the genetic variation in my potato stock, because the beetle dissappeared before i really got started with the seedlings. I do not really know the reason, but it is fair to beleve that it has to do with having a great population of birds, i dont know the english names on, that nest in the uncut grass around my potato field (my very small potato field- another reason). I do everything i can to risen the biodiversity of any insect and plant, and it is important to me not to fear "invasive" or "harmful" species. The so called pests are those who helps us to get better, and who doesnt want to get better?
Well, last but not least we must not forget that my potatoes has got their dose of basalt rock dust. Say no more…
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