[Market-farming] potato seed, source & disease

Jim Goodman jim at horizonmalawi.org
Sun Feb 15 00:52:34 EST 2009

We use True Potato Seed (TPS) grown in trays just like tomatoes and then planted out, the progeny of which is then our seed for the ware crop. There are limited varieties available however, and it is a two stage process, but if your process is sterile it produces very clean seed. We us Hygrotech "Mari"....

By the way, could someone tell us what a CSA is......I guess its some kind of consumer group...we would like to try something like this in our local city ....sorry, we're new!


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Road's End Farm 
  To: Steve Diver ; Market Farming 
  Sent: Saturday, February 14, 2009 6:48 PM
  Subject: Re: [Market-farming] potato seed, source & disease

  On Feb 13, 2009, at 11:01 AM, Steve Diver wrote:

    Though one year I did that with food potatoes
    from the organic coop instead of using certified 
    seed potatoes. Turned into the year my taters came 
    down with the dreaded Late Blight.... bluck! 

  Might or might not have been why you got the late blight. Disease concerns are definitely a good reason for using certified seed; but late blight blows around on the wind, and if it's in your area, you're likely to get it no matter how clean your original seed was.

  The one year I had late blight here the potatoes weren't salable as anything, food or otherwise. They all turned (sometimes a few days after harvest) into a yuchy mess of obviously rotten texture with a very strong terrible smell. The extension agent who came out and confirmed what disease I had told me that she thought it had started in conventional fields that year and spread to the organic growers, rather than the other way around (she wasn't blaming the conventional techniques, just that from what she had seen on the ground she thought it had happened that way in that particular year).

  If your crop was the only one in the area, or the first one in the area, to come down with late blight, that would seem to indicate that the seed was indeed the problem; if others had it first, it very likely wasn't the seed.

  Having said all that: I don't use potatoes bought at the grocery store for seed. If I had a good clean crop the previous year, and plenty of it, I use some of that for seed; otherwise, I buy certified seed -- double-certified, in my case: certified both as clean seed and as organic. On average I think I buy seed potatoes about every other year. (I don't mean that every other year I have a terrible or disease-ridden crop; I lean over backward on this, as far as seed goes. And potatoes grown in this area tend to go gradually down over time as far as seed crop quality goes; we're too humid and not hight enough altitude, so my own seed often produces a decent crop for a year or two but not for three or four; I take this into account, and if crop has dropped off at all I get new seed.)

  -- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
  Fresh-market organic produce, small scale


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