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Old December 18, 2009   #1
darwinslair
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Default Tom Wagner's True Potato Seeds

So Tom, in a nutshell, (say, 500 words or less, without getting too technical) how do you go about growing potatoes from TPS and what should we be looking for in what we get from them?

Tom Kleffman
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Old December 18, 2009   #2
Tom Wagner
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Tom K,

You have been after me to post something on this for a while, therefore, I may as well jot down a few simple rules, suggestions, or tips.

Sow seed 6 to 8 weeks before planting outdoors in the Spring.

Temperatures for germination is best around 72-78 F. but don't go over 80. Once the seedlings are up cooler temperatures for growing out are preferred. I even like to give the seedlings some direct sunlight outdoors if you have a protected area out of the wind for a hour or two at at least 55 or more in F.

Depth of sowing is rather important. Just barely covered is OK. I usually sow in 72 cell trays. I fill the tray, level it off, gently press my fingers in the soil media to make a shallow depression and cover with more soil media. I like a sterile peat, vermiculite, perlite to cover with over a customized mix of the same with some worm castings, dolomite lime, etc. mixed in. I am organic 100% for the last number of years.

The 72 cell trays allows the soil media to dry out quicker than in a solid bed of soil. I try to keep the media watered but a bit of drying out between waterings keeps the damping off to a minimum. Potato seedlings appear very spindly when young and that is where a bit of direct sunlight will harden off the tenderness.

I like to sow several seeds in each cube, since potato TPS does not all germinate at once. I may sow from 3 to 10 seed to maximize the competition pressure as I want rather tall seedlings to develop as to transplant these about 3 to 5 weeks later burying the cotyledons and a true leaf or two in the first transplanting in the greenhouse. I transplant again into the 72 cell trays as to force the seedlings to grow tall so that I can bury more leaves when I talke them to the field. The seedlings may be very brittle, all the more so than tomato seedlings, so be careful!


When I go the the field after all danger of frost is gone, I make a trench in the ground within a hilled up row of soil. As the plants grow I have loose soil to cover the growing plants several times during the next few weeks to months.


The plants will be a bit later than potatoes grown from tubers especially if you planted those in early April and the seedlings in May sometime. I try to grow the seedlings to the point where they mimic regular potato plants and match the potential yields of that clone.

Spacing is about 10 inches apart in 3 foot rows. I augment the soil with organic feritilizers such as worm castings, dolomite lime, rock phosphate, alfalfa meal, bone meal, green sand, cottonseed meal, blood meal, kelp meal, humic shales, compost, etc.

Harvesting occurs when the plants start to die down. I make individual selections and bag the hill separate if it is good, otherwise I take one tuber per non-selected hill to plant for the next year. Sometimes the seedling year does not allow for the full expression of the clone to shine and the second year will determinine if you have a winning clone or not.

Potato storage is a long subject. I try to allow the tubers to air dry on the surface of the soil before I pick them up. Good ventilation is important for the next few weeks and then some kind of cool or cold storage for the winter. I rely on a cool garage out of direct light much of the time.

Tom Wagner
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Old December 18, 2009   #3
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Just one question and I'm sure I speak for others, too - how do we buy some of your potato TPS? I'd like to give them a try here.
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Old December 18, 2009   #4
Tom Wagner
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Mischka



If anyone wants to try potatoes from true seed (TPS) I might be able to help. Next year 2010 will be starting the sixth decade of working with potatoes and starting my own varieties.

If you want to help follow the genetics of the seed I send ....great! However many of you may just wish to try something other than tubers for a change.

One packet of TPS for $5.00. I'll cover the postage.. I am set up only for checks, money order, etc.

My potato seeds will produce plants like no other.
Each will be a unique experiment. My focus has been on all colors of potatoes with special flavors and attributes.


Call me, PM me, or post on the forum

Tater Mater Seeds
Tom Wagner

8407 18th Ave. West
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Everett, Washington
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Cell 425 894 1123
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Old December 19, 2009   #5
salix
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Tom, PM sent. As mentioned, hope you will consider sending to Canada...
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Old December 19, 2009   #6
Mischka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wagner View Post
Mischka



If anyone wants to try potatoes from true seed (TPS) I might be able to help. Next year 2010 will be starting the sixth decade of working with potatoes and starting my own varieties.

If you want to help follow the genetics of the seed I send ....great! However many of you may just wish to try something other than tubers for a change.

One packet of TPS for $5.00. I'll cover the postage.. I am set up only for checks, money order, etc.

My potato seeds will produce plants like no other.
Each will be a unique experiment. My focus has been on all colors of potatoes with special flavors and attributes.


Call me, PM me, or post on the forum

Tater Mater Seeds
Tom Wagner
8407 18th Ave. West
7-203
Everett, Washington
98204

Cell 425 894 1123
Excellent, Tom - thanks!
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say to yourselves with regret

but also with happiness in your hearts

at the remembrance of my long happy life with you:


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Old December 20, 2009   #7
Medbury Gardens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wagner View Post



I like to sow several seeds in each cube, since potato TPS does not all germinate at once. I may sow from 3 to 10 seed to maximize the competition pressure as I want rather tall seedlings to develop as to transplant these about 3 to 5 weeks later burying the cotyledons and a true leaf or two in the first transplanting in the greenhouse. I transplant again into the 72 cell trays as to force the seedlings to grow tall so that I can bury more leaves when I talke them to the field. The seedlings may be very brittle, all the more so than tomato seedlings, so be careful!
Tom - as i didnt burying as deep as you said you do (and will from now on)could this have been the reason why i had parts of two plants snap off the wind a few days ago?
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Old December 20, 2009   #8
Tom Wagner
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Yes, not burying potato seedlings sufficiently is a major reason for plants being damaged by wind, animals, etc. I noticed this also in Europe where I found that folks just don't hill up the potato seedling enough. This causes aerial tubers, tubers too close to the surface, misshaped tubers, knobby tubers.

I was photographed and filmed digging seedling potatoes in Ireland last October and I remember saying that the potato plants were not mounded up with enough soil. That was at Brown Envelop Seed's garden. I took photos in the Bretagne area of France showing a similar problem.

The original root ball of the seedling plant must be buried 4, better 6 inches into the soil once all hilling is finished. If this is accomplished, the potato plant produces much like a tuber planted potato.

Tom
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Old December 20, 2009   #9
ShowmeDseeds
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Tom,

I'm going to mail you a check for some seeds. I would be happy to take notes on my growing season(s) if you will let me know what to look for.

Mischka,

Thank you for letting Tom offer these seeds on the Forum. Potatoes don't store well over the winter in the warmer parts of the world, and it would be a great advance if potato lovers had another way to grow potatoes besides ordering pounds of seed potatoes via UPS.

Stuart
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Old December 21, 2009   #10
Tom Wagner
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I thought it might be timely to add a link to support some of my reasoning for providing TPS to the tomatoville.com readers.

http://www.cipotato.org/potato/tps/overview.asp

Quote:
Most farmers still plant tomorrow's potatoes by using part of yesterday's crop. A small, but growing number, however, are using disease- and pest-free planting material grown from true potato seed (TPS).
TPS has many advantages over planting tuber seeds. One is the obvious difference between storing and transporting tons of tubers versus grams of true seed. Farmers who normally plant a hectare of potatoes using two tons of seed tubers can achieve the same or better results by planting as few as 100 grams of TPS. Low cost is another TPS benefit: it costs about $1200 to plant one hectare of high- tuber seed, while TPS (100 grams) costs about $80 per hectare.
TPS also gives farmers access to superior varieties. Enormous quantities of a newly developed resistant variety can be in farmers' hands within a season or two, versus the 10 years it can take to produce enough tuber seed to have an impact in the field.
But the seed isn't sown directly into the field like wheat or maize. It is first sown in a seedbed, like tomatoes, and then transplanted into the field as seedlings.
Initially, the problem with TPS was the difficulty in producing potatoes that were uniform in shape, color, size, and performance—a requirement of the food industry. Instead of producing a genetically identical clone of the mother plant, as is the case when growers use seed tubers, each plant grown from open- TPS is genetically different. Potato plants produce flowers and berries that contain from 100 to 400 true seeds. But the seeds germinate into seedlings with varied characteristics not genetically true to the plant that produced them.
CIP scientists, however, have now broken down pollination and dormancy barriers to produce high-disease-resistant, uniform varieties of hybrid true seed.
Many of my clones grown independently of the CIP organization are also a result of my research and development of pollination and dormancy barriers. I don't think it is a bad thing for someone to reinvent the potato locally as we all benefit from new ideas and varieties. All of the true seed of my Skagit Valley Gold variety potato is naturally hybridized since it has a self incompatibility factor with its own pollen. I will daresay that hybrid vigor is better than TPS from naturally selfed berries.
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Old December 21, 2009   #11
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Are you able to post out Internationally, Tom?
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Old December 23, 2009   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntsman View Post
Are you able to post out Internationally, Tom?
I would have to say yes,as i'm growing a few of Toms at the moment,you'll enjoy it huntsman ,its so fascinating not knowing the type or colour you'll end up with.
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Old December 23, 2009   #13
Tom Wagner
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Huntsman,

Since I treat my TPS during the extraction process with hot water, Trisodium Phosphate and Clorox, I have little fear of transmitting any pathogen. True potato seed is ideal for sending to folks because there is little or no risk of carrying a virus or bacterial wilt. No one has had any problem with diseases with growing plants from my seed. Ask those who have tried the seed obtained from me.

Tom Wagner
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Old December 24, 2009   #14
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Schweeet!

Time to PM..!
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Old February 22, 2010   #15
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Received TPS and planted them the very same day. I am excited to report 29 tiny, tiny seedlings. Very nice, not to mention the tomato seeds Tom also shared. Thanks again for the opportunity Tom!
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