Growing potato seeds

Flowering potato looks quite  ornamental

Flowering potato looks quite ornamental

Sometimes, potatoes manage to produce tomato-like fruits in late summer and fall. When they get ripe, they start turning yellow and soft, but the fruits usually (well, I’d say always, but I kept one fruit ­čÖé ) get discarded, because they are supposed to be poisonous if ingested. Potato propagation is usually done by planting small potato tubers, which means there’s no use for the seeds. Vegetative propagation by tubers allows potatoes to grow large during their first growing season, compared to tiny plants and mini tubers that can grow from the seeds. Asexual plant propagation also gives identical plants, compared to genetically diverse plants, received when growing from seeds.

Potato seeds are rather small. They can be found in ripe potato fruits

Potato seeds are rather small. They can be found in ripe potato fruits

I never tried growing potatoes from seeds and even thought they would germinate poorly or not at all, so I decided to pick one of the fruits that were ripe, collected seeds, dried them and packed them into zip lock bag just to forget about them.

When I started to prepare for the spring and started germinating my chilli peppers, I have found the small bag with potato seeds, and threw most of them into the same pot with a couple of chillies. My expectations were low and I believed, that potatoes were already genetically manipulated to the point of no return – complete sterility.

Cluster of tiny potato seedlings

Cluster of tiny potato seedlings.

After just a couple of days, I have noticed that practically all the seeds started sprouting. Extremely high germination rate came as a shock and I was kind of disappointed, because I sowed all the seeds on the same spot, which means only a few had a fighting chance to survive the transplanting. I decided to plant them into containers for the first year, and perhaps use their small tubers the next year and plant them with the rest of potatoes.

Potato seedlings in a pot

Potato seedlings in a pot

I intend to update this post on regular basis when the small plants start growing and when I finally get the tiny potato tubers.

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