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How a potato plant grows.  RSS feed

 
James D Young
Posts: 64
Location: Brantford, ON Canada
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This is new pictures to make viewing easier.
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?ZFZLX
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?QHBIN 21 August 2009 How a Potato Plant Grows
There is a great deal of information on the Internet about growing potatoes in tires, boxes and indicating that large quantities of new tubers can be produced with high vertical hilling. The view propagated is that potatoes grow from branches all along the main stalk. This is utter nonsense, as the pictures indicate. New tubers are formed around the seed potato and always slightly above it.

My potato growing test box was opened today. The pictures speak for themselves. Clearly there is no advantage in carrying out excessive hilling when growing potatoes. The purpose of hilling is to insure the tubers are covered, since light affects potatoes producing a green appearance, which is an indication of solanine, which is harmful if ingested in large quantities.. For comparison one Pontiac Red was dug in the same row, which was almost identical to the test box potato in appearance.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Su Ba
pollinator
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The article fails to indicate what potato varieties might be "indeterminate", but it says that they would not be the early or mid-season ones. Honestly, I've never really looked into varieties that might be better suited to tower growing.

Looking at my own varieties that I grow on my farm, I'm growing predominately early and mid-season. I really, really love me being able to harvest a crop in 2-3 months. Since I can turn over a bed and get the next crop going in three months, I'm satisfied with my method and have been no longer experimenting with novel growing techniques.

But now this article has peaked my curiosity. I think I'll order some long season varieties and see what happens with them in towers.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm not interested in confirming nor denying Internet rumors about how potatoes grow. (My observation is that potato towers are a bad idea.) However, I'll add that I have grown hundreds of varieties of potatoes from pollinated seeds, and that there is enough diversity within the species that some varieties, under some conditions, produce tubers along the stems. Common commercial varieties though don't do that, because it would be bad farming practice to try to machine-harvest plants with many different ages of potatoes on them.

One of the red potatoes in this photo had the tubers along the stem trait. It is no longer with me due to other reasons.
 
Su Ba
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Joseph, if you ever get another potato that exhibits tuber production along the stems, assuming that was edible, I'd would be honored to have a tuber or two to grow out. It would give me a base to breed from.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Too bad I don't know ahead of time what traits might be valued later on...

As far as I remember, the tubers-along-the-stem variety was eliminated for tasting poisonous. That would have been OK in a breeding program for stem-characteristics. There'd be plenty of opportunities later on to get the taste right.

 
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