I will just add that as far as breeding/growing, you need to first identify plants with each type of trait you want, and you likely won't find them in the same plant. Ie. long stolons may not be in the same plant as high yield, or the same plant as colored flesh. You would be looking at a many year project to cross those plants, grow out from TPS and take several years to evaluate the TPS plants before you may find something you are looking for. Then cross those again, etc...
For an example, I grew out nearly 300 TPS plants this past year, and although I am regrowing about 100 of them, that is still probably two to three times what I really felt are worthwhile to regrow. And I was really only happy with about two dozen of them. That is less than 10% that will end up being worth keeping as clones beyond next year. From a yield perspective, I had maybe 5 or 10 TPS plants that had a yield above my AVERAGE for my plants grown from clones.
That is actually a much higher percentage than commercial breeding programs, which can end up narrowing several hundred thousand TPS plants down to one that ends up released 7-20 years later. Or just kept for further breeding with. Obviously they don't have the same goals I have, or you may have, so it isn't exactly comparable, just worth considering.
My other thought on the urban gardening thing, is that it really only works long term, with a lot of inputs (compost, fertilizer, water, etc.) being added annually. To grow that intensely and expect results will require the resources from other locations, meaning it is not truly sustainable. If you don't keep adding inputs, then the soil will be quickly exhausted.
Curzio, growing nearly entirely with grow bags, does not use the same soil each year for his potatoes. He moves that to garlic after it is used for potatoes, and brings in 30-40 yards of compost each year.
You might add mashua to your list of things to try. The problem is that most varieties are short day, so they would get killed by frost in Colorado before yielding. There is one day neutral variety, but it has poor yield. That ought to be all the elements necessary to produce a short day, high yielding tuber with some breeding work.
It climbs, for space efficiency (up wall-mounted trellis, for example), looks like an ornamental, and it will pack a tower. Almost 17 pounds from a single plant this year.
Of course, there is the flavor...
Growing where temperate rainforest meets the sea (WA coast): Jan avg low temp ~34*F, Aug avg high temp ~69*F, ~111 annual inches of rain, but only about 15 inches May-Sep, salt air, lots of wind.
There is only so much sunlight that arrives in a garden during a growing season. That much sunlight can produce about 1/2 pound of potato tubers per square foot. When my ideas, of what I'd like, clash with the laws of physics, so far the laws of physics have always won.
Ha. Joesph, that ia a funny way to put it, but yes, there is an absolute limit to the formula of a maximum amount of sunlight + a maximum amount of nutrients over any given area of the surface = total growth (yield and plant growth). You cannot fight the laws of physics...
Can you direct me to an article detailing the dangers of tilapia protein? I couldn't find anything via Google. There was some stuff about omega 3 vs omega 6 ratios but it was all very clearly typical media hysteria over very limited understanding of a study taken out of context.
Oxbowfarm - I would suspect the data is not specific to tilapia, but is generic of any farm raised fish. Everything I have read on the matter has led me to believe that wild caught fish have a much better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6, and that farm raised fish (due to their grain fed diets) have it the opposite of what you ideally want. Just like grain fed meats.
I might just do what you suggest and grow out some mini tubers. Or do you think I would have enough time? I would have to get the tubers grown, chilled, and planted by Late April.
Gilbert - You probably only have time for TPS plants that are short season (under 90 days). If you start them now, and they germinate in under a week, you are looking at April to have usable mini tubers. At a minimum average dormancy (about 60 days), you may be able to plant by mid June. 20 days to vine emergence after planting puts a short season potato possibly able to be harvested by the end of September. You could harvest earlier, but the tubers would be smaller. A long season potato may require twice that amount of time under fluorescent lights to produce mini tubers, and twice(or more) amount of time growing in the field.
Another option would be to try diploids instead of tetraploids. There are some diploids with dormancy issues that would not need to wait the 60 days. Some of them will resprout immediately after harvesting. Potatoes with andigena genetics also sometimes have poor dormancy, but they also suffer (in temperate climates) from requiring short day lengths before they start setting tubers.
I will add my two cents here about two other things mentioned.
I have read rabbit manure can be added directly to soil/gardens without composting. I have never tried this, nor kept rabbits. Can anyone confirm that?
Regarding aquaculture - I have not done aquaculture beyond using waste fish tank water to irrigate and fertilize with. However, I have kept tropical fish for more than 15 years, sometimes with as many as a dozen fish tanks, one as large as 125 gallons. It is impossible to have a closed system that cleans itself, in such a small locale. Aquaculture systems require change outs of percentages of the water periodically to maintain the health of the fish. Even with heavily planted tanks that use the fish waste nutrients and cycle it, there still is a point where the nitrates build up and you need to replace 25% or more of the water. For me, for some tanks this was weekly, for others monthly. Rarely was there a healthy tank, even heavily planted with grow lights, that I could let go more than 2 months. In nature, there is a constant system of rainwater washing out streams, rivers, lakes, etc., washing all of that into the oceans, which are huge reservoirs and carbon sinks. The system nature uses is huge, not a small, closed system, and to replicate that involves a lot of water.
I would imagine that even gets more complicated with keeping fish for food, seeing that as fish grow, they need to eat more nutrients, which produces even more waste.
I'll look up the Popa Chonka variety. Maybe it would produce seeds in a different climate? How much do climate factors have to do with it, do you think?
OK, so it looks like mini tuber growing is not an option for me this year, so I will just use the grow lights to raise seedlings for planting.
Given the comments about how many plants and how much time this project could take, do you think it would be better to do the initial screening stages in the ground? Then I could use my limited number of towers to select for tower growing once other factors have been eliminated.
There is a lot more information on my overal urban agriculture plans and aquaculture plans on the permies thread.
Just briefly, I'm planing to change out 5 percent of the tank water every day, instead of fooling around with an aquaponics/ recirculating system. The changed water will go into wicking containers.
As far as inputs, the only inputs I hope to use is animal feed. Sustainable dryland pastures can produce a lot of rabbit feed in a given year, and ground rock minerals could maintain the pasture. (Animal feed to manure to plant fertilizer.) But of course it is a complicated topic. Maybe I should start another thread here about my overall project. . .
I would bet that the farm raised effect is probably what makes tilapia come off so badly.
Mashu is another thing to think about. I'd probably need a greenhouse to breed for the first few years until I could get the day light neutral genes incorporated into a good bearing variety. My greenhouse is at the foundation stage, but maybe next year. I do have a high altitude dry climate which Mashu ought to like.
Have you considered something like Lathyrus tuberosus? A perennial sweet pea variety that produces edible tubers. I haven't tried it myself, but it is one i would like to someday as i suspect it would be easy to grow here. Other types of perennial sweet peas really do grow as weeds here in the forested and/or country areas.
I didnt know they were edible, ok , not wanting to hijack this thread i'll either start or look for an existing thread, i wouldn't mind discussing growing Lathyrus tuberosus further.......
So, I looked through the Kenosha potato project. I selected out varieties that have both high tuber setting, as opposed to varieties that only set seed at the bottom of the plant, and which were late, as just about everyone I read online agreed that lateness in a potato tower is a good thing, akin to indeterminacy in tomatoes for this application. I then narrowed the list further by looking for other useful characteristics. I also found a separate list from the early days of Kenosha, when they were focusing on trying to grow 99 pounds in 9 square feet, not that they ever made it. They had a list of the most promising cultivars.
So, the 99 pound challenge list, with the Kenosha project notes;
Blue Goose (3 seed pieces produced 11 pounds 13 oz) mostly large oblong tubers Up to Date (3 seed pieces produced 11 pounds 6 oz) mostly lumpy tubers Russian Banana (3 seed pieces produced 9 pounds 14 oz) medium fingerlings Batoche (3 seed pieces produced 8 pounds) mostly large round tubers Calico (3 seed pieces produced 7 pounds) mostly large, tapered tubers Kemerowski (3 seed pieces produced 7 pounds) mostly large tubers Mountain Rose (3 seed pieces produced 7 pounds) mostly large tubers Eersteling (3 seed pieces produced 6 pounds 14 oz.) in a size mix - matches Mt Rose as an early maturing variety Fortyfold (3 seed pieces produced 5 pounds 9 oz) many, mostly small, round tubers Dutch Blue (3 seed pieces produced 5 pounds 3 oz) many small, round tubers Papa Chonca (3 seed pieces produces 4 pounds 6oz) medium-small blue fingerlings - this yield is not impressive, but the vine is very late and the tuber set is shallow on long stolons Elmer's Blue (2 in-vitro seedlings produced 2 pounds 4 oz) - obviously a variety that needs further testing grown from tuber seed pieces - but the harvest from in-vitro seedling was really impressive - I observed long stolons and shallow tuber setting ... but most interestingly I counted 80 tubers in bite size or larger and 32 additional in pea size.
And the other varieties I chose, with notes from the database;
Adirondack Blue Sets tubers high, sets true seed Alby's Gold Sets tubers high, 55oz out of 3 All Blue, sets tubers high, sets true seeds? All Red, sets tubers high, sets true seeds? Anett sets tubers high, 70 oz from 4 Bauer Gruen Rotes Auge sets tubers high, 43 from 4, produces true seed even in bags.? Congo: sets tubers high Costanera Sets tubers high, tall vines, good heat tolerance, 52 oz out of 3 Dheera Sets tubers high, produces true seed Gardenfiller, aka Hibernian tubers higher and serial Goldsegen Sets tubers high, produces true seed Gurney's Everbearing opportunistic Ilona, sets tubers high, produces true seed Ilse's North German, sets tubers high, produces true seed Irish treasure, sets tubers high, opportunistic Isla Caucahua sets tubers high 18 oz from 1 Jewett, aka Blue Marker sets tubers high, produces true seed, 49 oz from 1 Kenya Baraka sets tubers high, one of the best for container growing Kerr's Pink sets tubers high, sets true seed McIntyre Blue sets tubers high, tall vines Morada Ojuda Sets tubers high, 140 small tubers in one bag Ozette Sets tubers high Papa Chonca good variety for containers, sets tubers high, very long stolons Purple Peruvian, sets tubers high Rattviks Rod Sets tubers high, long stolons Red Pontiac, sets tubers high, tall vines Riverwood (aka PI 607501) sets tubers high, sets true seed Sarpo Axona sets tubers high, 28 oz from 1 Sequoia sets tubers high, sets true seed Siberian, aka Fiery Eyes sets tubers high, tall vines, good container choice
And Diamond Toro, as mentioned above. Also Burbank Russet, one which most potato tower experimenters seem to be happy with, in as far as they are happy with any variety.
Now, I certainly can't buy all these varieties the first year, so I will have to see which are easily available, and start there. I will also continue to search online for varieties which are reputed to do well in potato towers. (In the notes above, "28 oz from 1" is ounces produced from a certain number of seed potatoes in Kenosha's bags.)
My 2 cents on the list. If you are intending on breeding these with anything else to get TPS, I would consider crossing off nearly all the commercial varieties unless they are proven to set seed. Many suffer from male pollen sterility, which is an inheritable trait. That includes Russet Burbank. If you want to breed for high towers greater than 35", cross off Purple Peruvian. That is one I tried that did poorly.
I would guess many of these on your list are available through SSE, and possibly TPS from some of them, not just the clones.
Here is a comparison picture of Papa Chonca grown in the ground (left) and in a tower (right). These were approximately 12' from each other. I have had individual Papa Chonca plants in the ground exceed 2 lbs per plant. Not close to that in towers.
I think I will start a certain number of different styles of tower with seed pieces of fairly common varieties that are easy to obtain in bulk, some with just one layer of potato seed and some with three, to establish a baseline and compare methods.
Then I will grow out a number of rare but promising varieties in the bucket towers, to compare varieties.
I may do a bulk planting of purchased TPS in small pots, to screen for desirable traits and produce mini tubers for next year's work. Ones with desirable traits would be placed in towers next year.
I will definitely save as much TPS as I can this year, and plant it in pots in late summer to evaluate and generate mini tubers.
I would assume that there is no point in planting unscreened TPS in my very limited supply of towers? It seems that the first round of screening would be best done in the soil.
The next step is to find as many examples of ACTUAL towers that people have built, (As opposed to magazine articles suggesting how towers COULD be built) and record how they were built, where they were located, what they were filled with, what varieties were used, and what the yield was. I will be posting my research here with links to original sites. The more ideas I can get, the better.
Looks like I have my work cut out for me for the next 30 years. Maybe I will be able to retire on the profits
In the first round, I just want to make sure there are no varieties out there that come close to what I want without breeding. The Burbank is there as a baseline comparison, since that is what most of the other experimenters have used. Also, do you think Latitude and or Climate have an impact on flowering? I planted a bunch of store potatoes, some type of russet, and some sort of small red, and then ran out of time to care for them at all. The plants were definitely stressed. In the Fall, I got dozens of berries, but I threw them all away, not knowing what I do now.
Those pictures are rather discouraging. How did you build your tower?
First case study; Mavis Butterfield's potato towers
Wire mesh cylinders, 4 ft. in circumference. Filled with straw and "dirt." One unlayered tower, two layered. unlayered tower failed. 12 pounds from the best layered tower. Variety unmentioned. Gig harbor, Washington, USA
Wood bins, with a new six inch level added as needed. 8-10 seed potatoes planted at the bottom of each. Plants hilled as fast as possible every time they poked out with sand, soil, and straw. No stems out the side of the towers. Late Season varieties used, no specifics. Maybe four feet on a side. Indiana.
Only a few more potatoes harvested the planted. Total harvest from both bins fitted in a five gallon bucket. A failure.
Wooden posts with wire. Straw filled. Four seed potatoes planted per tower, and hilled with straw; potatoes planted on top of a thick layer of straw in a layer of compost. Potatoes covered initially with six inches of straw, then covered with straw every time they hit 12 inches. (Much less often then in the other case studies.) Potatoes used were Russet Burbank and Red Pontiac.
Rutledge, MO, USA.
Success: 158 pounds of potatoes off of 30 square feet of tower base. Burbank yielded better then the Pontiac.
keen101 (Biolumo / Andrew B.): Looking for Goldini Zucchini again. Thinking of setting up my own seed shop for OSSI varieties in the future.
Apr 2, 2022 3:58:57 GMT -5
gratefulseedsaver: I have Goldini seeds. email@example.com
Oct 8, 2022 18:46:12 GMT -5
wilscase: Hello all. My name is Casey Wilson. I'
Oct 18, 2022 21:31:32 GMT -5
wilscase: I'm a graduate student at Oregon State and have been working with populations segrgating for different color genes such as the B gene in Cucurbita. I'm curious if anyone has experience with crosses in Cucurbita maxima between grey blue types and orange?
Oct 18, 2022 21:33:14 GMT -5
wilscase: I have been backcrossing to the grey parent for 4 generations and have finally selfed the heterozygotes (for the Bmax gene) the populations have segregated for diffuse bicolor (pink/blue, orange green), blue green, blue, green, pink (salmon) and orange
Oct 18, 2022 21:36:29 GMT -5
wilscase: The genes involved are Bmax and bl. I have observed that Bmax is incompletely dominant to wild type (green). I have read that bl is incompletely recessive to Bl(wild type). I'm curious if anyone else has observed the behavior of Bmax in a grey/blue type
Oct 18, 2022 21:38:28 GMT -5
wilscase: It appears that bl and Bmax are interacting to produce different shades of salmon and pink.
Oct 18, 2022 21:38:52 GMT -5
wilscase: I'm also interested in any other color genetics, especially the relationships between B and L genes. In the right background these genes can dramatically increase Carotenoids (vitamin A)
Oct 18, 2022 21:40:09 GMT -5
wilscase: I have lots of germplasm and would love to exchange anything that people are interested in
Oct 18, 2022 21:41:56 GMT -5