Yacon: Flower Diversity in Seedlings

If you have been following the blog, you know that we were lucky enough to get more than 130 yacon seedlings this year, from seed collected from four varieties last year.  Very few people have grown yacon from seed, so we didn’t really know what to expect and we still won’t be able to get […]

About My Potato Breeding Projects

Because we sell excess seed from my potato breeding projects, we get a lot of questions about what my goals are.  Those goals are sometimes hard to articulate because I haven’t thought through them as clearly as I have done for the other plants that I work with.  My work with potatoes goes back before […]

Yacon: Seedling Progress

Yacon plant variety OC-16-1Ux02x08

Last year, we grew two new yacon varieties from seed and also collected more than 1000 yacon seeds.  This year, after starting seeds in November, we have 132 yacon seedlings.  Because yacon is polyploid and an obligate outcrosser, each one of those seedlings will be a new variety.  That is, each variety must be pollinated […]

Ahipa: Getting to the root of beans

Ahipa (Pachyrhizus ahipa) 'Tarija' seeds

Ahipa (Pachyrhizus ahipa) is one of a few varieties of bean that have been bred for their roots, rather than for their seeds (the beans).  It produces a storage root that tops out at about 2 pounds in its native region in Bolivia.  The root is used similarly to yacon: more like a fruit than […]

Ulluco: 2015 Mini tuber harvest

Eight ulluco varieties grown from seedlings. The tubers are small. Colors are purple, light green, yellow, orange and purple, dark purple, and lime green

We had 27 ulluco seeds germinate in 2015, but they did so over a very long period of time and more than half of them popped up in September, by which time it was growing late to produce tubers.  In addition to short day length, ulluco needs a few months of growth before it is […]

New Variety Introductions for 2016

I’ve announced a lot of achievements that I was proud of in this blog, but this might be my favorite. These are the new varieties that we have produced in the past couple of years, all of which have been released under the terms of the Open Source Seed Initiative pledge. That picture represents thousands […]

Ulluco: 2015 Seed Production

Ulluco seed production in 2015 The ulluco seed season has come to a close for 2015.  Not long after the autumn equinox, when ulluco begins to form tubers, it stops producing seeds.  Some varieties continue to flower, but the flowers no longer form seeds, even with hand pollination. 2015 is our third year producing seeds […]

Yacon: Leaf Shape

One of the problems that we have in maintaining and expanding our little yacon collection is that it can be very difficult to distinguish different yacon varieties.  Plants look very similar in the field and the rhizomes and storage roots also don’t vary all that much from variety to variety.  A few conveniently have red/purple […]

Ulluco: Seedling Blast

The last ten days have been a remarkable run for our ulluco project.  Seven new seedlings have emerged in that time, bringing the total for the year to 17, a 1.62% germination rate.  So far, 14 seedlings remain alive and 6 of those are well-developed, adult plants that will almost certainly set a tuber crop […]