Once you have tried growing tetraploid potatoes from seed, you might want to try growing diploid potatoes as a new challenge. The seeds contained in this packet are primarily diploid, derived from the indigenous potatoes of the Andes (Solanum tuberosum subsp. andigenum). Diploid potatoes are more difficult to grow in North America than tetraploids and are characterized by day length sensitivity, late tuber formation, poor dormancy, and small size. They are outbreeders and will not set seed without hand pollination where natural pollinators are scarce. Why bother with diploid potatoes, given all of those challenges? Flavors can achieve heights that tetraploid potatoes rarely reach.
These seeds are a mix collected from different varieties. In 2017, 92 varieties contributed to the mix, a majority of which were Colombian accessions obtained from the USDA gene bank. A smaller number of high dormancy were mixed in and open pollinated, so it will be possible to select longer dormancy varieties from this batch. 26 varieties were our own second to fifth generation varieties originally grown from seed. Our varieties have been selected for longer dormancy, but many of them still have rather short dormancy periods of four to six weeks. They will produce potatoes with a wide variety of characteristics, including different skin and flesh colors, different flower and foliage colors, and all shapes and sizes. The more that you grow, the more varieties you will see.
We continue to offer seed mixes from prior years as long as we have them in stock. The mix of varieties that we grow differs by about a third from one year to the next, so if you are looking for greater diversity, you can try a couple of different years. Potato seed has very long life. Maximum germination is usually found in seeds that are about three years old and declines in either direction. We don’t germination test current year seeds because the germination rate changes so quickly that it won’t match by the time you start the seeds.