Monday, 11 July 2011

What Now, Kaukau?

If the Ipomoeophiles among you have been wondering what became of those Papua New Guinea sweetpotato seedlings, these pictures should provide an answer.

They've grown and turned into a bunch of small sweetpotato plants, just as I'd hoped.   It's interesting to see the diversity of form they show in leaf shape, leaf colour, habit and vigour. Sweetpotato is a hexaploid, highly heterozygous, obligate outcrosser, so seed raised plants are likely to show all sorts of random combinations of characters. What I'm hoping is that these ones, from stock high up in the mountains, will show increased hardiness in our climate.  No guarantees of course, but one can but try.  To help me in my selection process, I might well turn to the Sweetpotato Knowledge Portal to show me where I've been going wrong.

So the next step (late though it is) is to stick them in the ground and see how they cope with the Cornish summer; not for the first time, this seems to consist of alternating rain, gales and brief salvoes of scorching sunshine.

What now, kaukau? The answer's easy - I'll plant you out, tout de suite. But planting space at Oca Acres is running a bit low at present. Where now, kaukau: that's the real question.  

5 comments:

Madeline McKeever said...

very cool

Ian Pearson said...

Surprising variation in leaf shape. Space? You could always dig up that concrete.

Mark said...

Good luck. Are these day-length sensitive, do you know? Wondering whether you will have to trick them into starting tuberising.

Talet doing well twining like crazy, obviously sunshine in Glasgow is equivalent to shade in lower latitudes. Hopefully this success will give me enough appropriate rhizobia in the soil.

Mama Kaukau said...

Hey, they're looking good.

Rhizowen said...

Madeline: I hope they tolerate very cool weather - that would be, well, cool

Ian: there's a lot of variation in sweetpotato. I'm sure that the varieties commercially available could be improved upon with a bit of effort. Couldn't dig up the concrete. we're in a conservation area and that would be destroying part of the vernacular architecture.

Mark: Certainly need short days for flowering. I suspect yields are a case of sufficient degree days and vine growth to get enough photosynthate transferred to the roots. We'll see. Good luck with the talet. They can certainly be quite vigorous. Let me know if they form nodules.

Mama Kakau I'm quite surprised by how well they've grown given the considerable neglect to which they have been subjected. They're fun.

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