Post by Joseph on Oct 25, 2014 1:21:09 GMT -5
I selected the 8 quickest growing and most robust seedlings for transplant into the garden. I harvested the plants today. One of the plants didn't produce any tubers. Two plants produced a few small tubers. I discarded them. I kept the tubers from 5 plants. As a recap: The mother plant was the commercial clone (on the right) in the following photo. The pollen donors were probably feral sunroots (on the left). The 4 best of about 29 seed-grown feral plants were inter-planted with the commercial clone.
The children of the cross looked like this:
2014-1. The most robustly growing seedling. The most productive plant. Short stolons and tubers grew near the surface of the soil making it the easiest to dig. The most like the commercial clone. Knobby tubers make cleaning harder.
And a closeup of the tubers.
2014-4. Long stolons that produced deeply buried tubers. Hard to dig in my hard clay soil. Most of the tubers got damaged during digging. Flowers were notably larger than typical. This plant produced an abundance of seed! The seed was somewhat immature when harvested, but I tilled my fields today, so I collected what I could get. I've started entertaining fantasies about "abundantly seeded" sunroots. Reminds me of the fantasies I was entertaining 5 years ago about "abundantly fruiting" potatoes.
2014-6. Short stolons producing easy to dig tubers. Not all that productive, but better than the best of the feral clones. This plant had red leaves! The commercial clone and the feral sunroots didn't display that trait.
2014-7. Long stolons, but shallow so OK to dig even though digging requires about 9 times more area. That would translate to 9 times more labor at harvest time for less total harvest, so not ideal. The tubers sure are pretty though, and not knobby so easy to clean & slice.
2014-8. Short stolons. Not very productive. Red leaves.
Culled: This is similar in productivity to the feral variety.
2014-6. Showy red leaves.
I planted tubers from the 4 best plants in a row next to the commercial clone. Sunroots are winter hardy in my garden so I expect a great patch of sunroots next year. And five terribly weedy patches where I have worked on this project in past years. Because I am doing a breeding project I need to move the bed every year so that I can distinguish new plants from old weeds.