Author Topic: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)  (Read 33380 times)

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #285 on: 2021-08-07, 01:06:07 AM »
I may be able to spare a few seeds from that plant as although completely out of character for me, I have actual tags on each one and individual marked envelopes to collect the different seeds in. Of course the pollen parent will be unknown. Remind me around the end of October.

I'm pretty sure I'll get bored with trying to keep them all separate but thought it might be fun to have at least some this year where I know who the mother plant is.
« Last Edit: 2021-08-07, 01:10:05 AM by reed »

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #286 on: 2021-08-14, 04:11:47 PM »
Still no pictures unfortunately but thought I'd post another update. I've wondered for some time if there is a way when to know what kind of roots a plant will make without having to wait all the way to normal harvest time. I already know that sweet potatoes are about as forgiving of root disturbance and transplant as anything could be.

So several days ago I dug up all all of those that I had started by direct seeding and that not transplanted into pots as seedlings. I also went around the garden and found all the volunteers and dug them up too. Any that had not bloomed and showed no sign of it were just left alone cause I don't care about them, I'll dig them at regular time for eating, assuming the have nice roots.

Anyway I made a wonderful discovery, it is very possible to just dig them up, check for good roots and replant. It may set them back as far as ultimate harvest but at least it makes it possible cull non rooters at a much earlier stage. And some of the volunteers were quite recent and still very small but even they, or at least some of them were already starting to make storage roots. Now I'm thinking it is possible to plant more seeds than I generally do and screen them in this manner fairly fairly in the season.

Like I said they may be set back on ultimate harvest but even if they don't make storable roots that can be cloned the next year(I actually think they will) I will still have a better line of seeds.

I also have come to the believe that the "bushy" and "clump root" traits that I like are not just related but maybe the result of the same genetic makeup. That makes sense I think, because it seems logical that a counterpart to the short internodes of the leaves could in the roots. All the ones I replanted, 7 of them all together, are bushy, clump root and currently maturing seed. I discarded the stringy rooted ones even if they were bushy and seedy.

On the down side, while the bushy and clump root traits seem to be linked, the stringy vs clump root trait is independent of that.  In fact some of the most bushy and seedy are of the stringy root type but still compact in the area they occupy. Color of the leaves and roots also, seems to be completely unrelated. 

I have also wondered about screening for self fertility but couldn't figure an easy way to do till now, I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes. When I bring in cutting in the fall to finish maturing seed sometimes they even keep on blooming. Finally occurred to me all I have to do is take some cuttings now from plants currently blooming and simply hand pollinate them.

Could also do controlled crossings between different ones to see who is compatible with whom. That would be a good test of my theory that some plants are compatible with just particular others but not all others and perhaps in only one direction or the other.   





« Last Edit: 2021-08-14, 04:20:32 PM by reed »

S.Simonsen

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #287 on: 2021-08-14, 04:50:41 PM »
Interesting update. Thanks for sharing. There really is so much involved in getting a handle on the behavior and breeding options for not even a single species but a particular population within it. My number of seedlings and clones is still too low to be culling ruthlessly just yet, at least until I can reliably produce large amounts of seed. If you have superior genetics spare later from your more extensive trials that could be a great way to leapfrog my breeding efforts forward. I suspect traits that allow good seed production under your conditions might be slightly different under mine, hence I am reluctant to get rid of any fertile seedy genetics at the moment, even if the roots are not great. Hopefully I can work my way out of this situation to consistently better roots without compromising on fertility.

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #288 on: 2021-09-05, 08:09:33 AM »
Still no pictures to post. I've got lots but when my old computer died it took my image software with it and I haven't found a good "cheap" replacement yet. I have metered internet connection and like to reduce file size to kilobytes instead of megabytes that come straight from the camera or phone. My new cell phone works but it is a $39 model. Camera is great but no editing software included and all the so called "apps" come with still more accounts, passwords, advertising and all that crap.

Anyway sweet potato seed harvest is reaching it's peak right now. Getting plenty but I do think maybe a few less than I'm used to. I'm growing less crowded and in better soil than ever before so maybe it is the case that more stressed plants make more seeds. That's OK as like I said, I'm still getting plenty and it also shows that stressing plants isn't necessary. At least not for those that are happy to make seeds anyway, maybe for those that are reluctant to bloom but I just cull them.

Doubt this really means anything, at least not that I will ever identify but I've found two capsules this year that had five seeds. I've seen one, two, three and in the case of a perfect capsule, four but this is the first time I've seen five.


Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #289 on: 2021-09-05, 11:12:54 PM »
Makes ya wonder if you could select for 5 seed capsules??
Changeable climate manly during winter & spring - 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial shingle

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #290 on: 2021-09-07, 07:06:16 AM »
Makes ya wonder if you could select for 5 seed capsules??
Maybe could but way more trouble than it's worth I think. It's just one of those weird little things that shows up once in a while I reckon.

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #291 on: 2021-09-27, 07:14:42 AM »
I went ahead and harvested most of my sweet potatoes. Still haven't figured out how I want to edit and post my pictures since losing my old computer and the software I had on it. I got lots and will figure it out eventually.

Any way in the mean time I got a couple of things to post. First, there has always been a question and speculation on how to make sweet potatoes bloom more and make more seeds. I'm pretty convinced now that stress will do that at least to some degree.

I planted most of them this year in less crowded conditions and with a better soil mix. While they still bloomed and made seeds there was a noticeable difference between them and those planted in poor conditions. After I planted mine the woman here, for reasons unexplained, planted some of the left over slips in the ground outside the fence. That ground was not well prepared or amended and also subject to repeated rabbit attack. I eventually got around to putting up some electric fence and those plants started blooming in the extreme. All cloned from the same roots as in the pots those few plants, with little stunted, rabbit chewed vines made probably 25% of the total seeds. It isn't necessary as those in better conditions made plenty of seed but good to know in the event you have one not prone to blooming and you want to force it to. I haven't dug those plants yet so will be interesting to see how they compare in root production.

The other thing is I've had my most dramatic example of mutation so far. Plant 20-pW-sV-sC came up from a seed last year. It made somewhat spherical roots with pink skin and white flesh and was not very sweet. It was also had a little larger vines than I like but I cloned it this year for backcrossing. One of those clones made much lighter colored and much more elongated roots. Flesh is a bit more yellowish and sweeter than the others as well.

I taste them all as soon as I harvest to compare how the flavor changes or improves after curing. I've never paid much attention to proper curing before but one reason I went ahead and harvested was to allow for some warmer weather for curing. I have them in black pots in one of my cold frames, vented during the day and closed at night just like when starting spring plants. Will be interesting to see if and how flavor is effected.

I only had one of the new 21 sprouts that made all the criteria for cloning next year. It has orange/orange roots, is nicely bushy and made lots of seeds. Overall I did not have as much fun growing mostly clones as when I grew just seeds so I'm going to be very selective on what gets cloned next year. I want to get it down to not more than five to clone and I want to plant about 500 seeds next year. And I'm going back to smaller pots, they don't seem to need the bigger pots for production anyway and it is much easier to dump them out. Plus I can grow lot more that way.

So far I have just three that I'm for sure going to clone. Two from 2020 seedlings and that one from this year. One of the 2020, plant (20-PO-sB-C) has lovely purple/orange roots that grow in a nice clump and are distinctly sweet before cure. I grew bunch of them this year so we'll have plenty to eat this winter.

Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #292 on: 2021-09-27, 01:15:20 PM »
Sounds like you had a good season Mark
Changeable climate manly during winter & spring - 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial shingle

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #293 on: 2021-09-28, 06:23:25 AM »
Sounds like you had a good season Mark
Yea, pretty good. Got plenty of seed and more than enough nice roots to eat a couple times a week all year. I guess I'll give some away or maybe try to find some new recipes to use them in. Which reminds me, cleaning out the potato onion bin the other day I found some from last year that were still just fine so they really do keep from one harvest to the next.

Another thing I noticed. I've read where some people plant a whole root instead of making slips. I threw the roots that I made slips from in the compost this spring and they went on growing there. The other day I was hauling out some compost and found those original roots. They made some nice new roots but mostly the old ones just got bigger.

Also went ahead and dug the ones the rabbits chomped on. They mostly chomped the leaves and where the bare stems touched the ground they just rooted down again. They didn't make any of decent size, just lots of little ones.

ImGrimmer

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #294 on: 2021-09-28, 03:12:09 PM »
After years of waiting. Some flowers on my sweetpotatoes. Now I need a second one...

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #295 on: 2021-09-28, 04:27:27 PM »
It's a start! Not likely but it could also be self compatible. The anthers are generally located down low in the flower so even if is a self compatible situation you'd need to use a tooth pick or something to bring it up to the stigma, unless the bees do it for you.

Here, weather depending, the flowers only stay open for a few hours in the morning so it also needs to be done right away. They can last into the afternoon on a cloudy or cooler day but may not be receptive that whole time. I think one reason I've had such good luck with them is because the bumblebees arrive first thing in the mornings and seem to go for them first.

Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #296 on: 2021-09-29, 01:09:59 PM »
Maybe that's my problem, the bumblebees around here seem to prefer other flowers more so like poppies and runner beans
Changeable climate manly during winter & spring - 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial shingle

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #297 on: 2021-09-29, 04:07:42 PM »
Maybe that's my problem, the bumblebees around here seem to prefer other flowers more so like poppies and runner beans
Well I reckon your gonna have to give em a talkin to about that. The first couple years I had a lot of blooms they didn't seem all that interested here either. I think it was Joseph who suggested they might need to learn about a new flower. I was skeptical abut that but maybe it's so cause now they love them. At fist too, they were about the only things but now smaller bees and couple different kinds of butterflies like them too. I think the big fat bumblebees are the best though cause some of the little bees and a butterfly tongue can get to the pollen and back out with even touching the stigma.

I'm yet to see a honey bee on a sweet potato flower but then we don't have near as many of them as we used too. 

Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #298 on: 2021-09-29, 05:14:52 PM »
Training them to prefer some flowers over others,?? ok, wonder how big a whip I'm guna need for that
Changeable climate manly during winter & spring - 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial shingle

Chris Morrison

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #299 on: 2021-10-02, 01:12:38 AM »
Yes those big ol Bumble bees attack the flowers pre opening (pre dawn?), ripping them to shreds to get at the goodies inside.
Here, we do have plenty of honey bees that also do their business, I posted a few pics last year of honey bees coming out of SP flowers covered in pollen
Reckon ants, midges, gnats, snatch flys etc all do their bit too.