Hi all. I have a similar thread on another forum, but I figure I’d post here too while my berry projects go up and running. And besides, this post will be a little different.
So I’m growing several root crops right now, mostly several species of yam vines (Dioscorea), some Lerén (Calathea allouia) and one of my favorites, African “Potato” or Potato Mint (Plectranthus rotundifolius). The last one is pretty great, easy to grow and propagate, fair harvest, easy to handle, great flavor. As for the Yams, I have D. rotundata (my childhood favorite, makes for a floury mash), D. trifida (a new favorite) and “Sativa”? Air Potato (D. bulbifera, fair flavor); I’ve got a white D. alata air potato coming in the mail, as well as a deep purple Ube.
Here’s a picture of the Air Potato on the trellis (still no crop, it’s early in the year), and the mixed tub with the Lerén, D. trifida and Potato Mint.
So yeah, I’m a big fan of the starchy root crops, I plan on getting Hopniss / Potato Bean later in the year. But one crop has escaped my grasp year after year, despite my efforts… The actual potato! Whether chitted or new, the store-bought types always end up rotting in the ground. So for next year, I’ve decided to play the genetic lottery, and try my hand at growing from true potato seed. I get that potatoes don’t generally handle heat well, but I know that there are a few places in the hot lowland tropics that succeed with potatoes as a cool season crop, so I know it can be done. The question is which variety. I tried searching the internet for seed tubers of “Skagit Valley Gold” (which was recommended for Puerto Rico on the Tomatoville forum, Link One, Link Two), but I couldn’t find it no matter where I looked. So I decided to just try my hand at growing them from seed, figuring they’d be less likely to rot to death than a store-bought potato, and that I’d have a chance at getting a selection that can take my heat (if only because heat tolerant types should be the only survivors from a batch of seeds). It’s kind-of a lottery, but the odds are better, so I’m bound to win if I try enough times. I bought some Andigena seeds and some Phureja seeds (the latter should give me better odds).
Does anyone here have any experience with potatoes in hot climates? And what about selectively breeding them?