Potato: Relationships Between Domesticated Species

Being a fundamentally lazy person, I always prefer to search for work that has already been done by somebody else.  That can be frustrating in the world of plant breeding, where information tends to come in two forms: highly technical or excessively simplified.  There isn’t much middle ground.  My search for a chart showing the […]

Oca: Early Sprouting Syndrome

One of the best things about growing oca is that it is generally very resistant to disease.  Unlike potatoes, which are vulnerable to more than a dozen common diseases and need constant attention, oca usually fends for itself very well.  The most common problem here is a bacterial stem rot, but it usually occurs late […]

Potato: Glycoalkaloid Toxicity

Introduction All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison. -Paracelsus Potatoes are poisonous.  You probably knew that if you are reading this blog, but it would be understandable if you had missed this fact throughout the years that you have been shoveling […]

Mashua: Tetraploid Variability

The domesticated varieties of mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) are tetraploid, meaning that they have four copies of each chromosome.  This allows the plant to carry twice the genetic diversity of a diploid organism (like most animals and many plants).  Balanced against that, mashua is most likely an autoploid, meaning that it became tetraploid by doubling its […]

Potato: Morphological Observations of USDA Accessions 2017

This post is not really meant to be read start to finish.  The intent is that it will be picked up by search engines so that breeders and researchers working with these accessions in the future can find this information. We use accessions supplied by the USDA in some of our breeding work.  This report […]

Jerusalem Artichoke: True Seed Production

Some of the more frequent questions that people ask me center on obtaining seed from Jerusalem artichokes for breeding.  Many crops that are propagated from tubers have a reduced capability for sexual reproduction.  You will see this theme come up again and again in this blog, but the details differ from one species to another. […]

Tatar Bread Plant: Seedling Variation

I have been working with Crambe tataria for a few years.  In my opinion, it has great potential as a sort of perennial mustard green.  I think perennial leaf crops are highly desirable; they often provide an earlier harvest than seed grown crops and can be a substantial labor savings.  Not much is written about […]

Potato: What You Should Know About Fruits on Your Potato Plants

In 2017, many areas of the US have experienced unusually wet and cool weather.  As a consequence, a lot of people have reported seeing something unusual: potato berries.  They look like small, usually green tomatoes growing on your potato plants.  These are known variously as seed balls, potato apples, potato tomatoes, or simply as berries, […]