Propagation of Potatoes

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

I’ll start this post with a disclaimer: I’m not a  potato expert by any means. I’ve grown potatoes for only three years.

I’m always interested in self-sufficiency.
Seed-saving is something of an obsession, though it’s largely been theoretical as opposed to practical (i.e. I’ve not had much time to seed-save on the scale that I’d like).

If you’ve researched the topic of potato tuber saving for planting next year, it will not have taken much time at all for you to discover that the risks of diseased tubers and lower yields increase drastically with each set of tubers that you replant.

The only way to bypass tuber-transmitted diseases is to eliminate the tuber.
Ultimately, you WILL want a ‘seed’ potato to plant, from which your crop will be harvested, but how you get that seed potato is the topic of this post.

In a booklet from the late 1800s titled ‘The Potato (How to Cultivate – Chemistry of the Potato)‘, the authors detail the use of single-eye cuttings, and how stems can be cut into sections, each of which can be planted, resulting in yet more plants (see pages 3-4).
In my first year of growing potatoes, I actually pulled sprouts from some of my purchased seed potatoes, and planted those. They grew. They produced tubers.

However, it was really only this present year that I delved into the topic further, and came across the following two links to papers produced by the International Center for Potatoes out of Lima, Peru.

The two documents only appear readable at Google’s Italian site, and it is unfortunately not able to be saved/printed, but there is invaluable information if you’re interested in cutting your seed potato supplier out of the equation.

Stem Cuttings, a Rapid Multiplication Technique for Potatoes

Single-Node cuttings, a Rapid Multiplication Technique for Potatoes

 

Additional information can also be found from page 111 to 114 of the book ‘Potato Seed Production for Tropical Africa‘ (this link should take you straight there.

 

Now, go forth and propagate!!




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