Why You Should Absolutely Not Bring Home Potatoes from Abroad

Often, when people first learn about Andean potatoes, they get excited and decide that they want to load their bag with cool potatoes the next time they travel to South America.  I understand being excited about potatoes, but we need to temper that enthusiasm with some knowledge.  I probably get about one email a month […]

Fine Tuning Germination of Older True Potato Seeds

I start thousands of true potato seeds every year.  You would think that I would be an expert by now, but my results suggest otherwise.  One of the biggest problem areas for me is starting older TPS.  I grow a lot of genebank accessions that are often decades old and they just don’t germinate as […]

‘Purple Star’ Potato Virus Cleanup Part 1: Initial Testing

Tubers of the potato variety 'Purple Star'

This is the first of a series of short videos that will document the process of eliminating viruses from the ‘Purple Star’ potato variety.  Purple Star was selected by Nathan Pierce of the Kenosha Potato Project in 2016 and has since shown the usual signs of running out due to virus burden.  In this video, […]

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 Absolute 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.  In fact, there may really only be two common blue heirlooms: All Blue and Purple […]

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 […]

Top 10 Beginner Mistakes with True Potato Seeds (TPS)

Potato (TPS) Seedlings

Growing new varieties of potatoes from true potato seeds is a lot of fun, but there is definitely a learning curve.  This post covers some of the most common mistakes that I have seen beginners make (and, in many cases, once made myself). 1. Starting too early This is probably the cardinal sin of growing […]

Potato: Understanding and Overcoming Male Sterility

The majority of modern potato cultivars suffer from male sterility; they either produce little to no pollen or the pollen that they produce is not viable.  Male sterility is part of a complex of traits that makes life difficult for potato breeders.  Some varieties rarely flower at all, others will flower but rarely form berries […]