Saturday, 24 February 2018

Results from 2017 and a sweet potato hiatus

I've been getting some requests to write down the results of my 2017 sweet potato grow-out, so I decided to share the below harvest table (yields in kgs) I made back in October. The numbered plants indicate sweet potato seedlings, mostly from my own seed, which is primarily a cross between Bonita and Purple. There is also some traded seed in there, though that generally did less well than my own. Though the difference in yield between individual plants of the same variety can be substantial (hence the table is somewhat biased against varieties of which I grew more than one), it's quite clear that some of these seedlings are performing at least as well as their parents. S17-022 stands out so much that I'm wondering if I made a mistake somewhere (though I really doubt it), so I'll need to confirm its potential in future seasons.

All plants were grown outdoors, without plastic mulching, and with the application of a floating row cover until the first day of flowering.

I also harvested much more seed than I did last year, probably more than 300-400, I didn't really count, but plenty to work with.

You'll notice that things have been a bit quiet around here lately, which has to do with some accumulating research obligations in my non-sweet potato life (it does exist!). I'm currently away from my garden for a year due to a visiting research stay abroad, which means my sweet potato breeding work is on hold until 2019. I've however shared my material with a number of other growers and hopefully I'll be able to report on their results in Fall. I'm eager to continue working with this material after that, it feels like we're making some early but promising progress on developing more cold-tolerant sweet potato varieties. I'll be back!

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