Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus Infects Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius)

I noticed some subtle but consistent leaf malformation in some yacon that I am propagating this year.  (This is not a named or publicly available variety – I use it for breeding.)  I wasn’t sure if this was an intrinsic trait or externally caused, but I don’t remember seeing this before, so I decided to […]

FAQ: True Potato Seed for the Apocalypse

Periodically, I get lots of questions about true potato seeds as an insurance policy against some sort of failure of the agricultural or food delivery system.  The reasoning is straightforward enough: potato tubers don’t keep indefinitely and they take up a lot of space.  True potato seeds last much longer and require very little space.  […]

The Beginner’s Guide to True Potato Seed (TPS)

Potatoes from Cultivariables 2018 wide diploid TPS mix

There is a lot of information on this website about growing potatoes from true potato seed, but I often hear from people who are interested but who don’t have the time to read all of that material.  If you have heard about TPS and are wondering if it is something that you would enjoy trying […]

A Blue Potato by Any Other Name…

Would taste just as sweet?  Maybe not.  But it probably would taste the same.  There are about 30 blue fleshed heirloom potatoes that are common in North America and Europe, but it turns out that they are almost all synonymous.  This is a big problem in potatoes and with heirloom vegetables in general.  People forget […]

Arracacha: Flogged into Flowering

Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza) flowers

If I had to pick one indispensable personality trait for the plant breeder, it would be patience.  It is one of the few areas of endeavor I can think of where doing something the same way, repeatedly, until it works, is a viable strategy.  It is surprising how often I succeed with a plant at […]

A Change to Our Seed Guarantee

Solanum brevicaule seeds

The major portion of our business is selling clonal crops, in the form of roots and tubers.  Because roots and tubers are perishable and vulnerable to all kinds of problems in packing and shipping, we guarantee them.  You should expect that roots and tubers that you receive will substantially sprout and grow.  After that, it […]

Potato: The Story of Rozette

Tubers of the Cultivariable Original potato (Solanum tuberosum) variety 'Rozette'

I was recently interviewed for the Free the Seed podcast, where we discussed the selection of our new potato variety Rozette.  This blog post is a companion to that podcast. The Pacific Northwest has a few heirloom potatoes that precede large scale settlement of the area by Europeans.  The most famous of these potatoes is […]

Oca: Cucumber Mosaic Virus

Leaf of an oca plant infected with Cauliflower Mosaic Virus

I recently spotted virus symptoms of a sort that I haven’t seen before on an oca plant.  Although oca is frequently infected with several different viruses, they are typically asymptomatic.  This plant had some lower leaves with obvious yellowing and mosaic and some leaf tip browning.  I ran it through a few ELISA tests for […]