Author Topic: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)  (Read 13212 times)

whwoz

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #240 on: 2020-10-28, 03:35:55 PM »
The main advantage of scarifying seed in this instance that I see would be allowing someone who has trouble getting seed in the first place to establish a seed producing population.   Where one has seeds requiring different levels of treatment it can be a real pain, particularly if you are expecting people who are inexperienced at treating seeds to germinate them down the track.  Ideally one would select for seed that germinates easily if you are doing what Reed is aiming for.

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #241 on: 2020-10-29, 02:34:29 AM »
I definitely see a reason to scarify if you only have a few seeds but when I got my first twenty or so it was before I did all the reading and research about them and didn't know they needed it so I ended up with 3 plants out of those 20 seeds. I was lucky to find some varieties that bloomed a little for the second year and they and those 3 crossed up and got things started. Actually now that I'm thinking about it I might have just had 2 plants that year and the third was a clone of the one that made the original seeds. Anyway that year turned out to be great with a long dry fall and I collected seeds all the way into November.

Weather is a huge factor in getting good seeds. I think it was 2018 when August was weirdly cool and wet, half of the seeds molded and rotted in the capsules and I discarded what might have been good ones if a capsule mate had rotted because I didn't what that residue left behind. Another year it was hot and wet and a lot of seeds sprouted in the still green capsules.  Even in those bad years I got plenty of seeds but it taught me not to take it for granted. Another reason I think to always keep a nice backup stock of seeds.

I've never so far had a failure in root production but I haven't up till now really been trying to maximize that. I suspect when I move to that stage next year by preparing the soil better and more uniformly I'll see weather related differences. Mostly next year I hope to find yield root quality variation just between the different ones, probably won't really lean much about effects of weather on that for a long time.

I was planning not to sprout seeds next year, just to clone this year's best plants to make the new elite line of seeds but maybe I will do a small scarification experiment. I could sort out 20 bigger, lighter color seeds and 20 smaller darker ones and scarify 1/2 of each, just to see what happens. They would be wasted cause I wouldn't have space to grow them out to see if indeed the harder to spout ones were some how better or worse than the easier ones but I might learn if my theory about seed size and color is true.  But it might just or even more likely be that differences in seed size and color is just another genetic variation like root color or leaf shape. 

   
« Last Edit: 2020-10-29, 02:43:18 AM by reed »

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #242 on: 2020-10-30, 03:00:32 AM »
I am still fishing around for my second major staple crop here.

I am too. I have a nice mix of beans and lima beans. This year I added cowpeas and peanuts both of which did very well. And I'm having great luck with wild beans, Phaseolus polystachios, in just a few years seeds are getting larger and more numerous but I still haven't summoned the courage to eat any.

I've been dabbling with dahlias too. I think they are very similar to sweet potatoes in that most breeding has just been to find a new one to clone but I'm trying to select a seed grown line that reliably produces big roots that don't taste too much like perfume.

Haven't thought about cannas, have never grown them except for flowers. Might need to look into them a little more. Problem for them in my area is they are a favorite of Japanese beetles.

All the beans and peanuts go a long way on producing protein, it's stuff with other vitamins and nutrients that I'm short on. Sweet potatoes fill that void pretty well but still need more diversity.

I think if something doesn't produce food and seeds, from seed, in one season it isn't a staple crop because without seeds you can't recover from a crop failure.
« Last Edit: 2020-10-30, 03:02:32 AM by reed »

Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #243 on: 2020-10-30, 01:02:19 PM »
What makes a huge difference is climate, here potatoes are reliable and that I normally manage to achieve around 11 month supply, atm Ive got another week left in the shed and the new season's plants are up and doing well.  Ipomoea batatas looks like it too will be also a ideal crop going by what I grew last summer, it would be great to get to the stage where its only seed sown but in the mean time I can see where growing Ipomoea batatas will be split into replanting tubers and another block from seed. But first step in getting my own seed.
Changeable climate manly during winter & spring - just under 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 out wash from the Southern
alps

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #244 on: 2020-10-30, 03:41:16 PM »
What makes a huge difference is climate, here potatoes are reliable and that I normally manage to achieve around 11 month supply, atm Ive got another week left in the shed and the new season's plants are up and doing well. 
Yep, climate is definitely the decider.  Pisser here is even just 20 years ago potatoes were easy to grow here, still are in some years not others. This year was sort of OK, last year total fail and year before that great. Another bad thing about potatoes and it's not their fault is I don't have a root cellar or any other suitable place to store them which makes it especially bad that a first year seedling only makes little tubers. And my climate even if the potatoes produce good still doesn't allow much on maturing seed berries, I've had bunches start to form but all drop off. I guess I might try to shade them more or water them more but sweet potatoes don't need any of that and they store harvest to harvest just in boxes in the extra room upstairs.

Ipomoea batatas looks like it too will be also a ideal crop going by what I grew last summer, it would be great to get to the stage where its only seed sown but in the mean time I can see where growing Ipomoea batatas will be split into replanting tubers and another block from seed. But first step in getting my own seed.
That's just how I've done it but I'm not at all opposed to cloning any extra good ones over and over, especially if it was always making your backup seeds at the same time. Would be goofy to just insist they have to always come from seed. So far I've just been narrow focused on getting the good seed line.

Assuming they store well and sprout new slips well I might just keep cloning those purple/yellow ones indefinitely. Only thing that might change that is if they mutated in an bad direction. When I first read that they spontaneously mutate by cloning, especially in the first few years after starting from seed I didn't believe it but its true.

I have another scant evidence, unproven theory on that too. Especially on the shallow, clump rooters it is easy to preserve a piece of above ground stem attached to the root. I've noticed that piece sprouts slips like mad as soon as you put them to a little water and sunshine.

My theory is since they are roots not tubers they don't have the cell structure for lack of a better term to sprout new above ground growth but some how they do it anyway. That, I theorize is where a lot of the mutation happens. On the other hand the preserved piece of above ground stem does have what it needs to more easily sprout an exact copy of the old plant. But that's all just me wondering, not a shred of real evidence. Any way, again from what I've read, you have to clone a new one at least three years to lock it into cloning true and even then an occasional mutation will still happen.

It's hard for me to get that straight in my head cause I always thought cloning meant, well cloning. But sweet potatoes, in terms that reflect my actual understanding of it, are genetically, extra special weird.

I saved all the potato seeds I traded for back when and all the ones I got from my few berries. I guess they keep a long time too so when I get my sweet potatoes to a place I'm happy with I might try them again because I would really like to have both.

« Last Edit: 2020-10-31, 01:46:52 AM by reed »

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #245 on: 2020-11-01, 06:07:20 AM »
From what I've seen if you grow sweet potatoes in water they don't make any storage roots at all, even if it's one that does make roots when grown in soil. They do bloom and make seeds though. I don't know if this might be a way to induce blooming or not but if you like the greens it is definitely a way to produce them in abundance and the fish in a small artificial pond really enjoy it too. Some kind of bugs hide, or may just tasty algae grows in those root mats and the little bluegills are always looking around in them. Or maybe they just like hiding in them too.

whwoz

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S.Simonsen

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #247 on: 2020-11-16, 02:19:42 PM »
Pat is doing great work. Basically created the whole sweet potato industry in Europe by supplying high quality propagating material to farmers in places with suitable summer climates. It is a real good example of the power of plant selection and breeding.

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #248 on: 2020-11-16, 02:33:10 PM »
Interesting work for sure. Wouldn't think of Ireland as particularly hospitable to sweet potatoes but I think they may be way more adaptable than most people would have thought possible.

As far as "The world’s first ornamental edible sweet potato" goes, I have to say bull feathers! I've had them for years that not only had a bushy growth habit and made nice roots (not tubers) but also bloom like crazy.  And that other one advertised as having bi-color flowers? They all do.

That guy just has a media/marketing machine on his  side.
« Last Edit: 2020-11-16, 02:39:49 PM by reed »

S.Simonsen

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #249 on: 2020-11-16, 04:04:00 PM »
Pat runs a horticulture company in Ireland. The gulf stream means parts of coastal Ireland have pretty even temperatures. He exports slips to the continent where they have hotter summers for production. Separating propagation and production means it is a lot easier to control pests and diseases.

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #250 on: 2020-11-17, 01:38:46 AM »
That's all fine, I just take exception to the marketing crap. First ever? that's just hooey. The term ornamental is really just hooey too, as is the notion that crossing one that does makes storage roots with one that doesn't is some how original.

From what I gather "ornamental" just means they won't push themselves out of a hanging basket but they are all pretty IMO, so all are ornamental. If his makes nice roots they fail the grow in a hanging basket test and therefore are not ornamental by that standard. Also they are all edible, only difference is some make big roots and some just greens.

The named ornamental one called "blackie" has been around for decades but I imagine others that don't make roots have been around for centuries or even longer as have those that do make seeds.
« Last Edit: 2020-11-17, 01:48:57 AM by reed »

Richard Watson

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #251 on: 2020-11-17, 10:58:30 AM »
Definition of ornamental  - a plant cultivated for its beauty rather than for use.


So really, you cant have an ornamental vegetable 

Changeable climate manly during winter & spring - just under 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 out wash from the Southern
alps

nathanp

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #252 on: 2020-11-17, 04:58:57 PM »
The Craig Yencho video where he discussed the development of the ornamental varieties is pretty interesting.  They were never intended, and normally would have been culled out of their breeding program (for storage roots), until someone thought out of the box that they could probably market some of them this way. 

reed

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Re: Breeding Sweet Potatoes (turning them into a seed grown annual)
« Reply #253 on: 2020-11-18, 01:17:07 AM »
The coolest 'ornamental" I've ever seen was in planters on campus of Indiana University. It had very, very long skinny lobes on its leaves and a lot darker black that blackie. No clue where it came from but it was way cooler than any of the UNC varieties I've seen. Actually I've discarded several that I think are better than them too because mine also bloom a lot but I don't have space to keep them going and haven't found any one yet to help me scale up.

Still no definite word on my hoped for partnership(s) with a seed company. The ones I've talked to are pretty big. I contacted them first because they had the most resources and I thought the ones most able. It occurred to me last night that maybe a smaller company might be a better shot. One where I can actually talk with the owners instead of a chain of underlings and that might recognize the potential of seed grow sweet potatoes as a bigger plus to their business instead of just another item in a big list. 
« Last Edit: 2020-11-18, 01:21:58 AM by reed »