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Breeding Localized Varieties of Sweet Potatoes

 
Joseph Lofthouse
pollinator
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Posts: 1708
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
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My mother loves sweet potatoes. She plants some every year, and harvests a meager crop. The available varieties are not suited to this area, so they grow poorly here. The way to fix that seems to be to breed my own varieties that can grow decently here in spite of the short-season, and cold-nights. That requires growing sweet potatoes from pollinated seeds.

Sweet potatoes are generally self-incompatible, so at least two unrelated clones are required to make seeds. Additionally, commercially available varieties were selected for poor seeding ability in order to minimize weediness. Last winter when a couple of people sent me sweet potato seeds, I was hyper excited. I shared the heck out of the seeds, trying to get them into the hands of collaborators that might have a better chance of getting a second generation of seeds.

I planted about 20 to 30 seeds 13 days ago, and three of them have already germinated for me, and about that many for the collaborator who sent that variety to me. It is also a variety that seems to not have the self-incompatible trait. Woo Hoo. We're off to a good start. Additionally, we are both growing a few different clones of sweet potatoes hoping to get seeds from some of them. I'm intending to plant some of my sweet potatoes in the greenhouse, so that they can get a bit of extra heat during the summer, and have a bit longer growing season in the fall.

Is anyone else in the forum working on breeding sweet potatoes? Want to share your experiences?

Here's what my seedlings looked like this morning.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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For the first time this year I'm growing three different varieties of sweet potatoes, which I hope might flower and set seed. So, not much to report yet except I'm trying!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Sweet potatoes are being grown in Southern Ontario and in Nova Scotia. These Northern varieties may prove suitable for Americans in colder areas as well.


http://www.aginnovationontario.ca/en/developing-made-in-ontario-sweet-potatoes/

Hot, sandy soil on the North shore of Lake Erie, that was formerly tobacco land, is the best place in Canada to grow sweet potatoes.
sweet-potatoes-growing-in-southern-Ontario-web.jpg
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