|The sweet potato plot in late August - with bagged pods|
|Sweet potato harvest table - 2016|
As you can see, the most productive variety in my garden this year was not T65 (surprisingly, given its reputation as one of the most cool climate-tolerant, and given its indisputed domination in previous years), but Nordic White, followed by an unnamed variety originating from Telsing (and that might, in fact, be T65 - you didn't think this was going to be easy or straightforward, did you?). Georgia Jet and its clone, Mystery - those sweet potato superstars of the temperate Americas - again failed to live up to its promises here in Sweden. I suspect that even though GJ is a short-season variety, it requires fairly high temperatures to produce decent-sized tubers, and we certainly have cooler summers here than in much of the northern US and southern Canada. That being said, this was in many ways a dream year (in relative Swedish terms) for sweet potatoes here, with a very warm spring followed by a fairly decent summer, followed again by an unseasonally warm September. I've added a temperature analysis below: overall this growing season was about 1.2°C warmer than the same period in 2015. As for a bit more details on my cultivation practices, all of the listed varieties were grown outside, on ridges, without ground cover. Plants were covered with row covers for the first half of the season, until around the end of July, when the first flower buds appeared.
As expected, the PNG seedlings didn't produce all that much. Nevertheless, it was an interesting little experiment. There was large variety in terms of growth habbit, leaf shape and colour, tuber morphology and skin and flesh colour among the seedlings. White, cream, purple-ish and various shades of copper-coloured roots were all present. One plant yielded three medium-sized white tubers, which I will attempt to keep for next year. The rest will be discarded. All of this gives me little reason for sorrow because, my friends, I now also have more promising seeds to play with! The (F) behind Georgia Jet, Bonita, Nordic White and (Nordic) Purple indicates that these varieties flowered and set seed this year, which, as the internet might have told you, is somewhat of an anomaly in batataland. Georgia Jet produced only one pod (I believe), but might have contributed pollen to the others. Bonita and Nordic White were earliest to flower and put out quite a lot of pods in the end, though the absolute flowering and seed-producing champion was Purple, which flowered some two weeks later but when it did made the others pale in comparison. I should note that Bonita and Nordic White, which I obtained from different sources, appear very similar and I'm not entirely sure anymore that they are in fact distinct varieties. For the time being, however, I will treat them as such. None of the seeds fully matured on the plants before I needed to harvest the tubers in the first week of October, so I cut off all of the stems with pods on them and put them in water indoors, until they had fully dried. I've tallied up the totals last week, and in total I now have 104 sweet potato seeds to play with next season. Excuse me while I make a little victory dance. I also got my hands on seed from three other varieties, produced by a fellow batata enthusiast in the US, so there should be a bit of diversity here to start working from. Now it's just a matter of upscaling seed production and growing out tens of thousands of seedlings in order to start selecting for adaptation to northern Europe. Easy! Maybe someone wants to contribute with some land and some long-term research funding?