Potato Morphology Part 1: Sprouts

This is the first of what will be a series of posts about potato characteristics.  One of the first things that I recommend to new plant breeders is to thoroughly explore the morphology of the plants that they work with.  There are some people who are able to look at the world around them naively […]

Should You Grow Potatoes Purchased at the Grocery Store?

Spring is around the corner and it is the time of year when I start to see a lot of discussion about growing those old, heavily sprouted potatoes that you find at the bottom of your pantry or about purchasing potatoes to plant from the grocery store because seed potatoes are so expensive.  Like so […]

Risks of Cross Pollination by GMO Potatoes

Note: This article is focused on the USA because that is where I live.  I know less about the status of GMO potatoes in other countries, although I am under the impression that they are rare outside of the USA, Canada, and China (PRC).  If you know more about the status of GMO potatoes in […]

Landrace Breeding Potatoes and Other Tubers

Seedlings from the Cultivariable Wide Tetraploid TPS mix

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about “landracing” potatoes and some of the other crops that I work with.  I take this as a sign that Joseph Lofthouse‘s new book, Landrace Gardening, is selling well.  I highly recommend it.  If you have any interest in backyard vegetable breeding, click on that link and […]

Potato Aerial Tubers

There are some questions about potatoes that I get over and over again, like whether or not potato towers work, what the mysterious fruits on potato plants are, and whether or not greened potatoes are dangerous.  This post is about one of those frequently asked questions that I hadn’t gotten to yet: why is my […]

Americans Should Be Careful of Ukraine True Potato Seeds (TPS)

Several varieties of uniform true potato seeds are available from eastern Europe and these are commonly offered through online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.  The names of these varieties include Asol, Diva, Empress, Fermer (Farmer), Ilona, Krasa (Beauty), Milena, Revansh (Revenge), and variations and translations of these names.  These varieties are not legal to grow […]

Everything You Need to Know About Indeterminate Potatoes

Lime green foliage and long leaves characteristic of a diploid domesticated potato

It was tempting to make this post a joke and just leave it a blank page.  That would, in fact, have communicated just about everything that it is useful to know about indeterminate potatoes for casual growers.  Unfortunately, the proliferation of incorrect information about potato determinacy requires a little more work to correct.  Ten years […]

Crossing Between Solanum maglia and Domesticated Diploid Potatoes (Part 2)

Tubers of a Solanum maglia x domesticated diploid hybrid

In part 1 of this post, I discussed the reasons for attempting to hybridize domesticated diploid potatoes with Solanum maglia.  The major reason is simple exploration, but S. maglia also has some interesting traits that could be valuable.  For one thing, the plants are large, with broad foliage, and might help to produce larger, higher […]

The Highland Potato with Its Own Song

Flower of the potato (Solanum ajanhuiri) variety 'Jancko Ajawiri'

Solanum ajanhuiri is a native Andean potato, grown at the highest elevations suitable for cultivation (around 13,000 feet) in Bolivia and Peru, where it can survive due to its frost and drought resistance.  There is a Bolivian folk song for the planting of this potato, given here from Huaman (1980), after translation from Aymara to […]