As my birthday approaches, it seems like a good time to send out my root crop wish list, just in case a potential benefactor or patron would care to make me very happy. I'll limit myself to a few simple things, hoping that the Cosmic Ordering Service is immune to my scepticism and will deliver, or failing that, perhaps you, kind reader, will be able to assist.
OK Universe, this is what I would like for my birthday this year:
- High altitude sweet potatoes from Papua New Guinea - seeds from varieties found at the edge of cultivation at around 2300-2700 metres above sea level. Let's start with Lian Morea, WHCK 005, PRAP 219, PRAP 469, WBS 010 Munibmam, SSYK 019,Lipulipu, PRAP 546 and WHCK 007. I've got a lot more interested in sweet potatoes since I discovered that they are able to fix nitrogen and I've just made a delicious soup containing sweet potatoes and can't get them out of my mind.
- Ipomoea minuta aka "culina", a high altitude Andean sweet potato relative said to be sweet and tasty and hardier than I. batatas.
- Ipomoea pandurata - the North American bigroot morning glory or mecha-meck. Winter hardy, big root, should grow here, might be useful for breeding or selection, although excavating a torso-proportioned root out of the ground with a crowbar might be a bit too heroic, especially seeing as, like me, it is often bitter and twisted.
- Apios fortunei - the Asian version of hopniss
- Seeds from the most northerly growing diploid Apios americana; Amphicarpaea bracteata from Canada - how about Prince Edward Island provenance seeds for starters.
- Day neutral ocas and ullucos, or at least ones from the southernmost part of their ranges; a bagful of oca and ulluco seeds from which to select new varieties more suited to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of our summers (or do I mean misty, moist and miserable?).
- A purple fleshed yacon; black ocas and mashuas. That's probably enough germplasm for now, unless you can provide: ten acres; a few polytunnels; an independent income;a laminar flow cabinet; undying devotion..........
So go ahead, Universe, make my day, you know you want to.