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Ripening TPS from immature berries

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  • Ripening TPS from immature berries

    This is I guess a mini project of sorts, to see if it’s possible to get TPS to maturity inside when cut early due to disease or lateness of season.

    I’ve several potato clones growing that I’d very much like to harvest some seed from, in order to make further selections and also some crosses I’d like to make for seed for next year. The yearly issue for me is Late Blight. Usually getting the 6 week period needed for the berries to grow to maturity, once they are pollinated and set is, a rarity. This year I planted very late (mid June), so although the potato patch missed the period in June when Blight struck many areas, the main patch was infected in August. It’s still bubbling away with a few newly infected leaves each day. It’s a bit of a death sentence for the home bred varieties I’m using in the Coloured Fingerling project, if they don’t get to set any tubers or mature seed pods its game over for those varieties.

    2 weeks ago in an attempt to save a Charlotte x Blue Belle berry from infection I picked it along with part of its remaining healthy stem; it had been infected lower down on the plant and had a nasty looking black area spreading up the stem. The berry looked to be fully grown but would have only been a few weeks old, too immature for seed. I decided to trim back the leaf and place the cutting in water, with the aim of keeping it alive until mature enough to be able to harvest some viable seed. A couple of weeks on and I have a healthy looking potato stem and pod sitting in a jug of water, I’ve added a drop or two of Baby Bio for feed. So far it is looking good for Charlie Blue's chances to ripen and hopefully with ripe seed inside!


  • #2
    Interesting! Hope it works for you.

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    • #3
      I hope so too, it would make a big difference knowing that TPS have a chance of maturing inside if need be. I've read they should not be picked before 6 weeks (preferably longer) otherwise the seed inside has not matured enough to be viable. I've not come across cutting a stem and being able to keep the pods developing.

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      • #4
        My next rescue mission were 3 infected Hot Dog stems, two each had a small berry forming (Hot Dog x Violetta) and the other very hopefully a couple of pollinated flowers (Hot Dog x Inky Squid) I didn’t have much hope for these but they went into a jug of water too.

        The amazing thing is the two stems with a small berry each, which when picked were the size of a pea, are growing!!! They must be nearly double the size of when I picked them in about a week.

        Even more surprising are the stem with just the pollinated flowers (really just a vain hope and because they looked pretty), have set small pods and one or maybe both look to be growing. I admit I keep expecting them to fall off at the knuckle join. Also on the same stem another flower has dropped, leaving a little pod in its place and I think it is growing, hot diggity dog!

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        • #5
          Four day progress report,
          I somehow managed to knock a Charlotte x Blue Belle berry off!!!! It looks ok and hasn't started to shrivel or anything yet. I have two others of the same cross on stems in water, I'm hopeful they will be developed enough and ripen.

          As for the others, pictures talk best.

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          • #6
            I am really pleased for you. In the past I have taken good cuttings from lightly blighted tomatoes and attempted to root them indoors. Trying to get something out of plants that perished before they ever had fruit! - also an attempt of having small plants overwinter for an extra early start the following year. In every case the cuttings that were still good looking before I cut them, got fully blighted indoors within a day. It was a sad sight. An experiment that did not work.

            I am really happy that you can do this and that the berries are growing. A bit of magic in a blighty year. Good luck for getting the berries big enough to take seed!

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            • #7
              Thank you
              I think just luck and caught it just as LB started. A later wave of LB following several rainy days and warmer temps - not so lucky! I've cut the foliage and taken some pods inside in hope, too early to see what damage lies as yet unseen.

              I do think those small Hot Dog berries (above) are going to drop off though. Either that or keep me hoping and then be empty of seed!

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              • #8
                Nearly two weeks on;
                All three Charlotte x Blue Belle berries look fine so far, one of the stems that was in water has shrivelled and the berry dropped off, leaving just one. The berries all look healthy and I think it likely they will eventually ripen to provide seed - yayyyy!

                My little Hot Dog berries all seem to be making progress, which to be honest is amazing! Hot dogx Self and Hod Dog x Inky Squid are gently growing, slow progress but still noticeable. Hot dog x Violetta remain healthy, possibly a little bigger?

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                • #9
                  Here's another salvaged Hot Dog, the larger is selfed and the smaller crossed with Snookie, They have been inside in water for about 5 days, so far so good.

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                  • #10
                    Just found this thread again. Did they all work out in the end? Hope so.

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                    • #11
                      Yes, the berries surprisingly grew and ripened, although not very big and not many seeds. But worth doing if they won't have a chance outside. I've recently sown a few of the seeds on damp kitchen paper and I noticed the first germinating today! I think I may have left it a bit late, I was hoping for a few mini tubers to grow next year.

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                      • #12
                        So pleased about that.

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                        • #13
                          I still can't quite believe I have little seedlings from berries that were so immature when I first took the cuttings!
                          This is a little Hot Dog x Inky Squid

                          Click image for larger version

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                          • Galina
                            Galina commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Oh joy! That was touch and go - and it did go

                        • #14
                          Yay! So pleased to see that.

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