The Phaserl


Growing Potatoes From True Potato Seeds

from Survival Blog:

Take a quick look at this clever video (1:47) describing the advantages of growing potatoes from potato seed.

Advantages of Growing Potatoes From Seed
Using traditional cross-breeding techniques, a company in the Netherlands named Solynta (So-lynn’-ta) has developed a line of potatoes that reliably produce “true potato seed” (“TPS”). Most potato seeds have a lot of genetic diversity, which is not a bad thing for home gardeners. They produce potatoes with varying sizes and colors, so they’re unsuitable for commercial production.

Less than one ounce of their seed can be planted in place of 5,500 pounds of “seed tuber” potatoes that would otherwise need to be cut up into pieces and planted. The seeds are lightweight, compact, and will last in storage several years. I don’t know if they’ll survive freezing. But how hard could it be to protect a thimbleful of seeds that could plant a whole potato patch? The tubers, on the other hand, require careful storage (around 40° and moderate humidity) and are subject to rotting, insect infestations, and potato diseases, not to mention they’re a lot more bulky than seeds.

With potato varieties that set seed (most don’t), a person not only gets tubers to eat and propagate but seeds as well. You can grow more potatoes from either or both. The seeds at least give the prepper a much more reliable and protected source for potato planting in the spring, especially if you have had to bug out! Note that when potatoes are grown from tubers, their productivity slowly decreases from year to year to a baseline. But potatoes that are grown from seed are at their most productive level. That is a big advantage.

Solynta’s Strategy
Solynta’s strategy is to make potato seed much more available and require less reliance on storing whole potatoes overwinter. This might significantly reduce global hunger. In the long run, I suspect there will be issues with potato monoculture and with seed patenting. Their seeds will be hybrids and have all the limitations and issues of other hybrid garden plants.

The bad news is that their seeds aren’t yet available for sale in the United States, as far as I know. But they aren’t the only people producing potato seeds! If you look online, you will find numerous sources of TPS. Most of them have sold out for this year’s planting though.

A U.S. Potato Seed Supplier
The good news is that I just checked and a long-time plant breeder in Utah has a good supply of potato seed still available. I’ve purchased from him a couple of times and am impressed with his love for gardening, his generosity, and his work to supply his local food bank. Check out his website. His contact information is in the lower left hand corner of this page, over the picture you’ll find there. He has a lot more to offer than simply potato seeds!

Growing Potatoes from True Potato Seed
TPS are about the size of tomato seeds. They need to be babied as they germinate and sprout. Planting them directly in the garden is probably not a good idea. It could be done if you have really fine soil, a watering system that doesn’t disturb the soil, and you keep a really close eye on them so they don’t dry out or freeze. In my opinion, a better approach would be to use egg carton cups full of fine soil or buy/make peat pots to start the seeds indoors or in a greenhouse/cold frame. I would plant the seed about 6–8 weeks before the last frost and then transplant the seedlings into your garden.

SurvivalBlog has numerous articles on growing potatoes. So use the Search field and read up! When survival becomes all about calories, then the humble “earth apple” (“aardappel” or “pomme de terre”!) could be a tremendous asset for you and your family. Got seeds?

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