This picture shows the result of my little experiment with growing potatoes from seed. It is indeed true that it is possible to propagate potatoes by using the fruits from potatoes.
These potato fruits are the results of a natural pollination by insects or the wind. Just like a pollination of tomato plants will result in the development of fruits from the pollinated flowers.
I have seen a YouTube video showing an experiment like this where the guy who were growing the potatoes from seed was using buckets instead. Now I know why 🙂
The resulting micro tubers are really small so if there are any potatoes left in the soil from the previous years then it’s hard to tell the difference between the new small potatoes grown from seed and any small potatoes growing from last year’s crop. I imagine it would be much easier to just empty a bucket and know that there are only small micro tubers in there, if they have been developed.
The good thing about growing the potatoes directly in the garden soil is that there will be a better natural selection since the goal must be to develop a variety that is well adapted to the local garden soil. If you are using store-bought soil in buckets then you might not have as strong a potato variety as you would expect if you will be growing this new variety in the garden soil instead of buckets next year.
You could of course use your garden soil directly in the buckets instead and thereby get a more realistic environment for the seeds to grow in. I think the soil used in the buckets in the video I saw consisted of a mixture of some store-bought soil or growing medium and the actual garden soil, but I think the point is not to give the seeds any advantages that they would not have if they were sown directly in your garden soil.
But again, what is the point of all this? I think it would be nice to have a local potato variety which is extremely resistant to whatever diseases are present in the local environment.
There is no guarantee that this would be the case if you buy a seed potato from far away and plant it in your garden. In fact, why should we expect that our potatoes have any kind of resistance when the seed potatoes have been centralized to the degree that they have been today?
The small plants that grew from all the small seeds I collected last year were almost all of them hit by some disease, so the natural selection and resistance does not come right away by just collecting one round of potato fruits. But it is also worth noting that many of the seeds that I have sown did not result in any plants with or without micro tubers.
So perhaps there already have been some kind of natural selection if many of the seeds just didn’t germinate although they had the same conditions as the rest of the 1,000 seeds. It will be really interesting to see what comes from these micro tubers next year.
Perhaps there will also be a selection taking place during storage through the winter if some of them start losing their energy and some don’t. I have not yet tried to store potatoes through the winter, so this will be a new challenge.
One cool thing about the picture above is that it shows that a couple of red potatoes have survived through pollination and germination. And two of the small micro tubers have a little head so perhaps this is from the same seed and perhaps it is genetic.
The question is, if I should grow these in buckets or just be hardcore and take another round of traditional sewing in rows directly in the garden soil. I should probably be extra careful and clean the soil really well before sowing.
This picture shows the whole bunch when I lifted them from the soil. You can also see in the picture that the soil is still very sandy but supposedly that should be a good thing when you are growing potatoes.