Friday, 9 May 2014

Pomato, potmato, matato, tomantato

I quite like Tomantato, but whatever you call them I'm talking about a potato plant grown for its roots and tubers with a tomato stem grafted onto the potato stem to give it a fruiting tomato top.

Why? Because they have been in the press lately with T&M's 'Tomtato', coupled with I've never tried to do it before. Also I have some potatoes left over in store and as most have started to sprout, it seemed rude not to try! 

Phase 1, I've potted up some potato pull starts/shoots of different lengths, some have a fair root system others just have bumps where the roots will form. They are a little immature but I'm optimistic given warmth and good growing conditions they will rapidly develop roots and stem to support a graft. Whether they will go on to produce potatoes is another mater. 

Pull starts/shoots

Newly potted up

Baby leaves

Blue Bella

I'm using a mix of varieties, I'm not sure now what they all are now as they have become mixed up over winter although I recognise some Blue Bella tubers amongst them, which has been one of my favourite varieties over the last couple of years. I've used a few Blue Bella sprouts which are delightful streaked and tipped purple. 

What is a potato pull shoot? It is the developing sprouting eye from a seed potato which if planted goes on to produce a cloned (identical to the parent tuber) potato plant - stems, leaves and also the crop of potatoes. They are normally left attached to the seed potato but if they are pulled off and potted up in growing compost they can be used to produce a cloned potato plant.

Blue Bella potato with pull shoots developing.
Assorted pull sprouts

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