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Potato Breeding

Breeding potatoes for resistance to blight and Colorado potato beetle is the first project of the Open Plant Breeding Foundation. OPBF maintains a bank of true potato seeds, which you are welcome to plant out in a field trial. Even a small plot of potato plants can help our breeding efforts to progress. In simplest terms, the method is as follows:

  1. Plant the potato seeds with about a 2" spacing.
  2. As the potato plants grow, they can be thinned to around one per foot.
  3. Allow any pests and diseases that may be present in your garden to do their worst.
  4. Rescue the last few plants before they are killed off, and allow them to be cross-pollinated.
  5. Save the seed-balls from these plants, and send them back to us. If the plants do not set seed, you can send us a few tubers from each plant.
  6. These become the parents of the next breeding generation, and will be crossed with the results from the other participants in the project.


 I have a family garden with room for some potato plants.  My family would love to participate in your potato breeding program.  Where should I begin?