FAQ: True Potato Seed for the Apocalypse

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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…

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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 […]

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

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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 […]

Potato: Germination of USDA Wild Potato Accessions

A black and white photo of a tray of Solanum brevicaule tubers. They are about 1 to 2 inches long, oval, and similar in form to baking potatoes.

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 […]

Potato: Genetics – The Basics

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Last year, I put together a summary of potato color genetics and ever since I have been getting emails asking questions.  A lot of those questions center on how to use the information.  I’m happy to try to answer those questions to the best of my ability, because I think potato genetics are fun.  This […]

Potato: Relationships Between Domesticated Species

Relationships Between Domesticated Potatoes and Some of Their Wild Progenitors

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 […]