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Dwight Duke-Skyline Ranch, Hensler, ND Potato Digging & Evaluation

Dwight Duke – Skyline Ranch
Hensler, N.D.
Potato Digging & Evaluation
Monday, September 30
 
Schedule:
 
1:00 p.m. (CDT) – Registration
1:15 p.m. – Potato digging begins
Questions & Answers throughout
6:00 p.m. – Depart
 
Note: All attendees should bring a spading fork labeled with their name for digging the experimental potatoes.
 
 
We will be digging, sorting and evaluating new varieties of potatoes (from white to red to purple) from mini tubers. TPS (potatoes grown from True Potato Seeds) potatoes from plants set out in June will also be dug. Dwight has about 50 different types of TPS from Tom Wagner, plus his own crosses of Chiefton, Caribe, Red Cloud, Reddale, Viking, Cherry Red, and Red Norlan. Dwight will also give a brief history of the potato project and the reasons for doing it. 
 
True Potato Seed (TPS)
We commonly refer to “seed potatoes” as those we will cut for planting and to the cut pieces as “potato seed.” This is cloning, or vegetative reproduction and it results in genetically identical plants throughout the garden or field. However, potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) actually do flower, set fruits, and produce dozens or even hundreds of seeds in their berries. Actual seeds from the potato fruits are called “True Potato Seed” or TPS. This is sexual reproduction and the plants resulting from each tiny seed are genetically different from every other plant. Potato breeders generate hundreds and even thousands of genetically different plants from true potato seed in an effort to find superior new lines for growing and for further breeding. Every good line can then be cloned and grown out for years to come.
 
 
 
Dwight Duke has worked with plants inside the greenhouse and in the open air since the 1970s. He taught elementary school for ten years before moving back to North Dakota to manage the family farm. In 1989. Dwight and his wife, Patsy started the process of transitioning to organic farming methods. They had a very diverse farm with traditional crops, cattle, horses and produce. Around 1994, the Duke’s sold the cattle and horses to devote more time to the other aspects of the farm. When they realized that the produce end of the operation was bringing in more income than the traditional crops, they rented out the majority of the farmland and concentrated on the vegetable part of the operation. Dwight has been going to farmers markets for over 20 years. He is currently President of Sakakawea Farmer’s Market in Beulah and Hazen, Lewis and Clark Farmer’s Market in Washburn, and Capitol Farmer’s Market in Bismarck, N.D. 
A favorite aspect of his gardening adventure has been his greenhouses. Dwight grows a wide variety of plants including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, onions, squash, beets, carrots, beans, peas, cabbage, corn, melons, pumpkins, etc. They also have about 40 laying hens. 
Dwight has two 30’ by 128’ heated greenhouses. He tore down two 22’ by 96’ high tunnels recently to make room for two more 30’ by 128’ greenhouses. Dwight is currently working on a potato breeding project through the NPSAS Farm Breeding Club, to develop a more resistant red potato that will keep well in storage even after repeated use. 
 
Directions:
1042 28th Ave. SW, Hensler, ND 58530
Take highway 83 to Washburn, ND: then take ALT 200 west to Hensler (about 4 miles) (there is a 4’ by 4’ sign just off the highway saying “Skyline Ranch Produce”). At Hensler turn right or north and then take the next right or east into the driveway. You should be able to see the greenhouses and big red barn.
 
Free if Pre-Registered by Thursday, September 26 or $10 at the door.
RSVP to the NPSAS office at 701-883-4304 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.