i’ve been planting potatoes for at least 15 years. every single one of the years i’ve planted clones, from what are called seed potatoes. what we call seed potatoes are not true seeds, but clones that are vegetatively propagated. what this means, is that when we plant potatoes of the same variety say the ever popular “red norland” we are not planting plants that are genetically similar, we are planting plants that are genetical exactly the same. this is a risky proposition. it means that if disease descends on the field, and the “red norland” is vulnerable, then it they all are gonna be equally vulnerable – and you could lose all your crops.
while lack of genetic diversity is an issue, not having the opportunity to see just what these potatoes can share with the world is even more important. true potato seeds show a high degree of genetic variability, and you never really know what you are going to get unless you have done controlled crosses. that is the exciting part, potato traits that have not shown their eyes in generations could show up, plus new combinations of genetic info from potatoes that have crossed. this year i’ve finally saved true potato seeds for the potato berries, and planted them, and have a nice yield of seedlings.
the seedlings i’m growing this year are crosses of a couple of the more popular potatoes – yukon gold and red norland. both have been doing well for us for a number of years out in the garden, and have done well without any pest problems, disease, or watering.
i have many more seedlings than i need, so if anyone is interested in some of them, i’d be happy to let them go for a dollar each, just to cover costs for growing them. they should be ready to plant about the same time as tomatoes in mid may. let me know if you are interested and the number of plants you want and send me an email to dirtysabot at gmail dot com.