To actually grow potatoes, we chop potatoes into chunks making sure
that each has at least one sprout "eye" and use these chunks as seeds.
However, I noticed that the potato plants above the ground blossom and
then bear small fruits about the size of cherry tomatoes, and these
fruits have small seeds in them.
What if we plant these seeds into the soil? Will they grow into
By the way, are these fruits edible?
Thanks for reading and replying.
"The potato fruit are of no value to the gardener. Potato fruit, as
well as the plant itself, contain relatively large amounts of solanine.
Solanine is a poisonous alkaloid. The small fruit should not be eaten.
Since potatoes don't come true from seed, no effort should be made to
save the seed."
Blight is spread in 2 ways, by the spores being blown on the wind an
more often by aphids that feed on infected plants and then fly/ar
blown onto other plants and infect them.
The spores and the aphids do not differentiate between the growers o
the crops so if you raise infected spuds by letting volunteers grow o
deliberately plant non-certified seed you could infect other amateur
and farmers and vice versa.
So please root out volunteers and don't save your own seed whe
certified seed is so chea
To be clear, you are saying that to remove the threat of blight, all
potatoes must be harvested each year and any volunteer potato that is
discovered must be completely rooted out? Since this could be a lot of
work, is there any special tool used by farmers to pull out volunteer
potatoes? Are there any studies that indicate the chances of blight
being caused by volunteer potatoes? For example is there a 50% chance
or 70% chance that volunteer potatoes will cause blight? This may help
motivate us to do the work of uprooting these seemingly harmless
To reduce the risk of disease for all your crops you do lots of things
the motivation is to keep your (and others') crops disease free. A wa
to drastically reduce diseases being carried over from year to year i
to clear the ground; with all root crops that means making sure none o
the crop is left in the ground. It does involve "work" but so do mos
elements of gardening - I think it is part of the hobby of gardening
Farmers don't use tools they use weed killer, as an organic gardener,
wouldn't advise that.
The potential for spreading blight comes from the foliage so hoein
this off, which is the normal way of dealing with weeds, is enough.
For soil-born diseases such as eelworm then diging them out the answer
when the leaves are spotted just fork out the plant.
I don't know of studies on percentages (the chance will depend on th
prevalence of the disease in the previous season) but I do know tha
the vast majority of outbreaks of blight reported by the trade are fro
volunteers. The trade runs a system call bligh****ch a
www.bligh****ch.co.uk and reports outbreaks to members with the cause
the vast majority of these are volunteers.
Is that motivation enough?
I've heard that many farmers have to hand pull volunteer potatoes that
are discovered in rotational crops such as onions and carrots. Perhaps
in this situation the use of weed killers is not effective? For some
reason, the farmers remove the entire tuber, not just the green
foliage. My understanding is that these are not organic farmers but
traditional farmers. This is obviously a very expensive operation
because of the labor involved. Why would they hand pull the volunteer
potatoes if it were not necessary for some reason?
I hadn't spotted any farmers hand pulling weeds in the UK, smallholder
may because they are interested in higher quality crops and have smalle
areas to cover. As I said, this also reduces the chances of spreadin
The seeds are like most parts of the solanum family poisonous.
They are, as Farm1 said, the way that new varieties are created. So yo
might like to try producing your own new variety (and make money) but
as thousand of seeds are sown by the professional raisers of ne
varieties to produce one good new one, finding the good one is lik
looking for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer's daughte
instead (a quotation from a Dutch potato specialist). So to say the
"are of no value to the gardener" is not quite true.
If you want to try, sow the seed as you would half hardy annuals nex
year. Pot on the seedlings into 3" pots and then plant outside in May
At the end of the year lift and see which plant, if any, looks health
and has produced the best looking tubers (they will be all be small)
Grow these on in 2008 (throw away the rest) as normal potatoes an
again check for quality of plant and tubers at harvest time. Grow o
the best in 2009 (throw away the rest) as normal potatoes and agai
check for quality of plant and tubers. If, at the end of this year, yo
think you have a variety which has a better flavour, prodcues a highe
yeild or is less susceptible to disease than any other current variet
contact a seed firm such as Thompson and Morgan or a specialis
organisation like the Scottish Crop Research Institute
Yup. They're unlikely to replicate the parent line, though. But if
you've got the space, it can be an interesting exercise. In the US,
most potatoes are produced vegetatively -- but CIP has been working
with true seed varieties:
Toxic. Even if they do look like green cherry tomatoes.
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