North of Likely Canadian potato landrace

I’m trying my hand at TPS this year. I’m starting with quite a variety, and I’m quite curious to see what happens. I know many types of potatoes are daylength-sensitive, and I’m quite far north so daylength can be a significant issue.

I’m inspired by a potato from the town of Likely, a not too far south of me, that was brought during the gold rush and went feral around the lake for a hundred years or more. While I don’t have any seed from that oen yet, I aspire to that kind of low-maintenance scrappy attitude in my potatoes (honestly we freeze six feet into the soil, I didn’t know they could overwinter here! which makes a seed landrace a little easier) and would like to add a rainbow of colour and a variety of shape and texture. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll stick with seed or just stop when I have several kinds that suit my needs, it depends on how easy it is. I’m trying to reduce the number of plants I start indoors.

In any case I’m growing my standard potato varieties under straw as always and saving any berries that show up, but I’m also trying a pretty big mix of seed. Interested to see now only results, but germination from the following:

Potatoes planted April 4: (72 + 60 = 132 cells planted)
Colourful landrace mix from gone to seed
Russian blue from (woodgrain or Julia?)
Andean mix from (woodgrain or Julia?)
Clancy crosses from cultivariable
Rozette crosses from cultivariable
Blue tetraploid from cultivariable
Red tetraploid from cultivariable
Wide tetraploid from cultivariable
Nemah from cultivariable
Amarilla from cultivariable
Diploid high dormancy from cultivariable
Blue bolivian from cultivariable


I’ll be interested in seeing how you progress. I’m growing Clancy outcrosses and red tetraploid from Cultivariable this year. I’m quite south of you so it will be interesting to see what you get compared to mine.
Started my tps two weeks ago and they are very small and slow. Getting more pop up now but they really do take their time.

Cool! Nice to see you’re entering the fun world of TPS! I believe I may have sent you some seed at some point? Either way, I have seeds from about 20 different types that I’ve started this year. Interestingly as well, ‘Likely’ will be one of the varieties in the research work we’re taking on for culturally-significant potatoes of Coast & Interior Salish Indigenous peoples (myself being interior Salish). Likely was definitely not ‘feral’, but in fact stewarded in that area for many generations. Looking forward to following along your TPS adventures! :purple_heart::potato:

Couple of photos of the babies I have growing. You can see some tiny seedling in the front, showing the variability of varieties planted at the same time.


Thank you for sharing Likely’s story with me. How was it stewarded, does this mean it didn’t overwinter in the ground there? Or was growing it as more of a perennial in-ground crop part of that?

How long do you grow them indoors, from seeding to plant-out? You seem to be pretty far ahead of me in the season, and my reading had told me not to keep them indoors for more than 8 weeks, so I’m very interested. Do you do just a couple seeds per cell? They’re so tiny and for some reason feel more fragile than other tiny seeds.

I think we’d talked about sending seed but maybe not done it yet, though I have some significant holes in my memory from this winter. I have corn for you!

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My pleasure! ‘Likely’ has many different stories, so part of the research is interviewing current and past growers, and working with the gene bank. Few thoughts I have, based on research to date: the tubers were both harvested/replanted, left in ground under heavy mulch, and a combination of both. More research definitely needed!

They are very fragile, so I start potting them up right around now. I also started some decently earlier than usual, started another batch a few weeks later, and will start even more soon.

You and I did an exchange for sure, I’m growing some of your tomatoes this season :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I also have Gaspe for you, and could pop in a few fun TPS for a second sowing if you like.

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I just started some true potato seed today that I collected myself a few years ago. I have also read not to start more then 8 weeks from planting out. My last frost date is late may-early June.

Looking forward to watching how your project progresses!

Food for thought…many people in my area reported having potatoes unintentionally winter over in my area last year which was really very remarkable considering our location. My suspicion is that they may have self sowed. That is another way for a plant to go feral and I think it has something to do with the fact that we had really good snow cover early enough in winter. This makes the ground thaw and warm up much faster in spring allowing for good germination. I think this is also more likely then tubers surviving in the ground…

It would be a fun experiment to intentionally fall plant some true potato seed outside
to see how they do!


Tubers overwinter quite easily if they are below frosline. If fields are tilled it helps some of them to get deeper. It happens here often even though conditions aren’t at all favourable. Could be tps in some cases too, but mostly what is grown here doesn’t produce fruits.


In South Central Alaska, it freezes pretty deep, but I still find some potatoes that overwinter beautifully. I doubt that mine are from seed as they are mostly decent size. There may be some true seeds in there too. I’ll be saving true seeds this year for sure. I’d love some colorful crosses with my Purple Viking. And the bees are always out there in the potato beds. The Purple Viking produce super well in cool weather in our super short season. Even in part shade.


We have the same approx. plant-out dates as you, and I’ve never had issues starting my TPS earlier than 8 weeks. Been doing it this way for about 5 years or so. We are about a USDA zone 2b equivalent here, and I’ve had tubers overwinter in the ground almost every year. We get a good thick snow cover on the plots I use, so they seem to be insulated enough from the freeze/thaw cycles. I happen to have some Likely tubers (among a few others), that I intentionally over-wintered in the ground, so I’ll be sure to report to this group. Exciting times!

Here are a few of my TPS babies that I started on Mar 5, and potted up this weekend. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:


We definitely freeze several feet down here, and I know potatoes tend to sludge when they freeze. I’ve always done my potatoes under straw so I haven’t tested anything though, straw is not nearly enough to keep anything from freezing. They don’t come back from straw, anyhow.