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Old September 30, 2006   #1
Raymondo
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Default Collecting seed

Just for fun, I'd like to grow some potatoes from seed, true seed. If I have a variety that does set seed, at what point should I harvest the berry? Do the seeds need any special attention, like fermenting? Do I start the seeds off in spring? Should they be sown where they are to grow or can I sow them in flats?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old September 30, 2006   #2
Tom Wagner
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Raymondo.

Saving seed from potato berries is an important part of my research work. TPS (true potato seed) is a great way to get new varieties of potatoes.

Presuming you have a four season climate there in Australia, north of Sydney, you should be in early spring time. Nights are probably in the upper 30's F. and days around the mid 60's. You may already have potatoes in the ground. What variety or varieties?

You still have time to plant as many types of potatoes as possible in order to find one or more that will set their own berries.

From Australia:

DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRY, TOOLANGI

COLIBAN
DAWMOR
FERGIFRY
LUSTRE
RIVERINA RUSSET
RUBY LOU
SHINE
TARAGO
TOOLANGI DELIGHT
WILCRISP
WILWASH

Other varieties that you may find in Australia:
Delaware
Kestrel
Nadine
Desiree
Royal Blue
Katahdin
Exton
Patrones
Denali
Bison
Atlantic
Winter Gem
Crispa
White Rhino
MacRusset

Katahdin is a reliable berry maker, but I just don't know enough about many of the Aussie potato lines to guess on fruit setting abilities.

You should be getting a lot of flowers in a couple of months. It takes a minimum of 5 weeks from pollination to develop viable seed. I try to let the berry stay on the vine for 6 to 8 weeks post flowering. I pick the fruit on store them inside at room temperature for a few weeks to months to fully condition the seed. The fruit don't really turn color, but turn somewhat yellowish and soft. At that time, I usually crush the berries and soak the seed and part of the pulp in TSP to break down the gel around the seed. I rinse the seed in water and then soak in a 10% chlorine/water solution for a minute or so. I rinse with fairly hot water 120 F. and then tap the seed out the strainer onto paper for drying.

The seed has a natural inhibitor that lasts for a few months to a year. The germination will improve after a year to twenty years!

You can grow little tiny tubers in trays from the seedlings for planting months later when the sprouting begins on the tubers. Otherwise, start them indoors like tomato seedlings and transplant once indoors to cover the cotyledon and one or more leaf nodes. This is where the tubers will commence. Then transplant to the field when the plants are from 3 to 7 weeks old. It is important to harden off the plants before putting them in the ground.

You must hill up the seedling potatoes as they grow. I try to get four inches of soil over the original root ball by maturity. With lots of experience you may get 1st year seedlings to do nearly as well as tuber cut plants.

Tom Wagner
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Old October 3, 2006   #3
Patrina_Pepperina
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Very interesting Tom, and sounds like it will be fun Ray! Just your cuppa tea I'd reckon

Patrina
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Old October 20, 2006   #4
Raymondo
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Sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for that info Tom.
In the ground I have:
Sapphire
Kipfler,
King Edward,
and Sebago.

Of those you mentioned I know only a few -
Toolangi Delight
Coliban
Ruby Lou and
Desiree (a very popular spud here).

From the sounds of it, you're likely to only get little tubers the first year. Have I got that right? I guess then you grow them on the following year. BTW, what is TSP?

Oh, and climate-wise, I live 500 km north of Sydney but on the northern tablelands, 1040m above sea level, so we have a short, hot summer and a long, bitter winter. Directly east of me on the coast, less than two hours by car, the climate is virtually sub-tropical. Amazing what a little altitude can do!
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Old October 20, 2006   #5
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I think TSP might be tri-sodium phosphate - something like that.

PP
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