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Background:

I did an experiment where I put the cut seed potatoes directly onto a live lawn, and then covered with 4" of premium bark mulch. The plants did exceptionally well, and I noticed that a large number of the flowers successfully set fruit. I have an estimated 450 fruits.

Questions:

I would like to save the seeds, and try to start some new varieties (just for showing off).

  • How can I make sure the fruits don't drop?
  • What differences should I look for when the fruits are ripened?
  • How do I store the seeds?

Pictures:

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Update:

As of 8/8/14, the plants have dropped the fruits, which are darker, more purple, and they have started drying out. The seeds inside are still soft and white.

  • the female (they have perfect flowers, but the one acting as the female) needs to be of a variety that is capable of producing viable fruit... but since you have gotten as far as you have, you should be able to just let those ripen and harvest seed from them. Who knows maybe you will be lucky, and invent a more pest resistant replacement for the good ole Russet (just like Luther) – Grady Player Jul 19 '14 at 17:18
  • I'm afraid I don't know enough to help you with the other parts of the question but I do know that a recommended practice is to crush the fruits in water and let the seeds sink before retrieving them and carefully drying them. Due to the toxins in most parts of potato plants it might be a good idea to wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly afterward. – Alpar Aug 9 '14 at 9:32
  • Joseph Lofthouse may know: garden.lofthouse.com/cytoplasmic-male-sterility.phtml – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Oct 17 '15 at 7:12
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You can save potato seeds just like you save tomato seeds. Crush the fully ripened fruits into a cup, add a bit of water, and let it all ferment in a warm spot for several days. (This imitates the natural process of seed release, cuts back on the transmission of seed borne diseases, and also primes the seeds for better germination the following season.)

Stir the resulting fermented mush a couple of times a day, and when you see that seeds have fallen to the bottom of the cup, pour off all of the floating stuff and then add a bit more water, agitate, pour off, rinse and repeat a few more times. Once you have only seeds remaining at the bottom of the cup, pour off as much water as you can, and then dump the seeds onto a ceramic plate to dry in a warm and light spot where they won't be knocked over. Every now and then, give the seeds on the plate a stir to make sure they are not sticking together too badly and can dry more evenly. Once the seeds are thoroughly dry (very hard to bend or break) pour them into a paper envelope, label with any information about them you wish to save, and then put it into a jar in the refrigerator or freezer. The seeds should keep for at least 5 years in this manner, and probably longer.

By the way, there are alkaloids in the green parts of potatoes, but unless you are overtly sensitive to them, you shouldn't need to wear protective gear.

  • Ah, yes. That is what i would do, but I'm not sure how to tell when they're all the way ripe. – J. Musser Aug 12 '14 at 19:31
  • They will usually soften and may change color a bit, just like tomatoes do, when fully ripe. If you are not sure they are ripe enough, harvest as late as you can, and then let them sit on a shelf somewhere warm (But dark! No light, or the seeds inside might sprout prematurely!) until they begin to soften. Then mash them and proceed as above. – TeresaMcgH Aug 12 '14 at 19:46
  • They've dropped (see update) and turned slightly purple, but seem to be dehydrating rather than softening. And the seeds are still soft and white. – J. Musser Aug 12 '14 at 20:09
  • I'd go ahead and chop them up and add water, and see what happens. I don't know that all potatoes are able to set viable seed, so it's kind of a gamble anyway. – TeresaMcgH Aug 12 '14 at 20:22

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