Comments: 2523 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

MrWhat42944 karma

I think its a pretty impressive achievement to become a scientist despite being a potato. What's your secret to success? What sort of science do you do? How do you avoid being eaten?

amandeaux1516 karma

Hey, you made me laugh! :)

OICU812B41317 karma

When are you going to cross breed a potato and a marijuana plant such that the potato has THC in it and you can just fry up some french fries that get you high?


Since it's not marijuana it's not illegal.

DO THIS! I've been thinking about this for 10 years and I don't know how to make it. You make this now! GO NOW AND MAKE THIS!

edit: if you can't breed it then GMO it! Just make it happen!

edit2: i am aware that you can just use THC oil to fry the potato, this is not what i am talking about. I am talking about creating a new species. Please improve your reading comprehension skills.

amandeaux815 karma

So much pressure!

walczyk1155 karma

Hi, I love you. What's your favorite potato? I grow purple ones, from Peru.

amandeaux1095 karma

That's awesome! I like red lasodas because that's what I grow here in Florida!

BuritooMan1294 karma

You didn't say it back man ://

amandeaux1439 karma

I love you MORE

Ryanoski091052 karma


amandeaux912 karma

Hello friend!

Dustin-791 karma

How did you even get into this field in the first place?

amandeaux791 karma

I was studying plant nutrition and water quality and the potato producing areas in Florida have a lot of issues with nitrate in the groundwater.

trouble_tree387 karma

TIL there are potato-producing regions in Florida!

Life takes a lot of turns so this might be a silly question, but do you plan on sticking with potato research? Or do you want to work with other crops?

amandeaux448 karma

I work with sweet corn as well, but I have an affinity for potatoes so it's something I see myself sticking with for a while. I'm about to write a grant that would mean at least 6 more years of potato research.

little_fatty437 karma

I love eating potatos, may I eat potatos for 6 years as part of your research?

amandeaux435 karma


IamtheSpud709 karma

No question, I just wanted to say thank you for treating us with kindness. We will spare you when the time comes.

amandeaux447 karma


Zuzzyy388 karma

Did you help with the potato famine in Ireland?

amandeaux569 karma

I didn't, I'm a bad person :(

champloooo324 karma

  • does being a potato scientist ever get you girls?
  • is there a weird, not-widely-known fact about potatoes you'd like to share?
  • i imagine you get a lot if taters for free and eat them all the time. What kind of stuff do you make with them?
  • have you ever been apart of some kind of crazy, messed up potato situation in the field?
  • what kind of things do you research about potatoes?
  • do you love your job?
  • kind of a stupid one, but that potato pic in /r/wtf isn't eatable at all, right? Or can you eat around the rot?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

amandeaux610 karma

I get very smelly and dirty in the field, plus I'm a lady myself, so I don't get too many girls :( Uh, something cool I didn't know before I started studying potatoes, is that the potatoes you eat are just clones from the seed piece. If you let the plant flower (and nothing eats the flower, or they aren't aborted), you can grow some crazy potatoes that are nothing like the plant they came from! And yes, so many potatoes... I throw a potato party at the end of every season and everyone makes a bunch of yummy things and gets really drunk (so I can't quite remember all of the dishes). No crazy situations... yet, I'm still hoping!

ladycaver110 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA! What do you mean that you can grow crazy potatoes after the plant has flowered?

amandeaux173 karma

They just won't be the same variety as the one you planted and you can end up with some weird potatoes.

Coopa1054 karma

Where can I buy these red lasodas? I live in tampa.

My favorite potato so far is the German butterball. Can't find em here though :(

And... I want an invite to this drunken potato dinner/fest at the end of harvesting season. Isn't that soon for the red lasodas? Or has it already passed? I will come help harvest and cook something up! Ps... I'm a chef, so say yes!

amandeaux54 karma

YES! It'll be May, so we've got a while!

stardustantelope3 karma

What do you mean by clones from the seed piece? When I think clones, I think of petri dishes in a lab: is it that sort of thing, or is it a more of a special way of harvesting that results in the "clone"? (I don't know that much about biology so apologies if this is a dumb question)

amandeaux10 karma

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Botanically, the tubers start out as little stem pieces. They enlarge into a tuber, storing carbohydrates. If you cut off the eyes, a new stem will sprout and you can grow another plant, this is how we generally produce potatoes and the result is a "clone" of the "parent." But if you let them produce seed and then plant the seeds, you'll get some wild new variety that won't resemble the parent.

aurora69317 karma

Potatoes have played a huge role in human history. Where do you see potatoes in the future, socially and literally?

amandeaux423 karma

As we face a growing population (a projected 9 billion by 2050), crops like potato will continue to be important in terms of food security because they are so calorie dense.

thebobstu244 karma

Does anyone really know the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

amandeaux446 karma

They're two different species!

exultant_blurt109 karma

In the store all the signs say "sweet potatoes" but the boxes say "yams" and it drives me nuts. What's an easy way to tell the difference just by looking?

amandeaux150 karma

Hmm, they're most likely all sweet potatoes if you can't tell the difference!

admirablefox33 karma

I really need to know this. I looked it up once and left a bit more confused than when I started.

amandeaux85 karma

I'm trying to phrase it so it's not more confusing, basically sweet potatoes are roots that store carbohydrates and yams aren't. What I'm not sure of is if a yam is a stem tuber, but I don't believe it is...

Zomg_A_Chicken237 karma

Do you get free potatoes?

amandeaux450 karma

I get PAID for doing this and get potatoes, so I'm basically getting paid for all of these potatoes!

DoneHam56209 karma

On a scale from 1 to potato, how many Latvian jokes are going to be made in this AMA?

amandeaux222 karma

Less than I had guessed, so far

danman1232204 karma

Are you to potatoes as Dwight Schrute is to beets?

amandeaux219 karma

I'd like to think so

Supersonic182198 karma

Are the skins of the potatoes actually healthy for you?

amandeaux474 karma

This response warranted more detail than I gave, so I'm working on a better response to clarify what I meant

eyeball123418 karma

But... but... potatoes grow underground! How would you spray the skin of an underground potato?

(I know you've already gone off to bed, but please, I am thoroughly confused by this).

amandeaux9 karma

I didn't mean sprayed directly, sorry! You're right, the shoots are sprayed and not the tubers themselves.

CAN_ZIGZAG165 karma

It is ok to eat (the) "green" (parts of a) potato?

It's only chlorophyll... correct?

amandeaux213 karma

I'm sorry, I thought I answered this somewhere below! It depends which green parts you're talking about, but generally no. Do you mean the tuber itself?

senior_dgaf160 karma

two questions

1) is it true that a healthy human diet can be totally comprised of just potatoes and butter?

2) would you say your line of work is a-peel-ing?

amandeaux147 karma

1) I really don't think so, but I'm not a human nutrition expert! 2) YES!

sammaverick135 karma

Favorite potato dish? How do you personally pronounce the word potato?

amandeaux228 karma

Hachis parmentier, like a french shepherd's pie! Po-tay-to!

EDIT: Puh-tay-toe

markevens68 karma

Can you post a recipe?

amandeaux178 karma

This is the recipe I use!

Banana42134 karma

What exactly does your job as a potato scientist consist of, and how did you become involved in the magical world of potato science?

amandeaux209 karma

I grow tons of potatoes (actually, tens of thousands of tons), and measure nitrate leaching under different production practices. I was working in plant nutrition and water quality and the potato production areas in Florida have a lot of issues with nitrate in the groundwater.

PelicanElection97 karma

What kind of potato research do you do? And how will it ultimately enhance my potato enjoyment?

amandeaux155 karma

I research nitrate leaching under different irrigation and fertilizer management practices. It will allow potato growers to produce potatoes, while minimizing negative impacts to surrounding water bodies... so, you'll feel better knowing the negative impact of your potato consumption was reduced! :)

5hadowfax84 karma

Is it true that potato can cause cancer?

amandeaux646 karma

Just benign tubers

Arcticat70082 karma

How many clocks do you have that are powered by potatoes?

amandeaux164 karma

One! Got one for my secret santa gift!

Crookmeister69 karma

Do you get an unlimited supply of potatoes?

amandeaux125 karma

Pretty much.

Quenty67 karma

Have you ever fermented potatoes into Vodka?

amandeaux172 karma

Sadly, no. But for our annual potato party, I buy potato vodka for everyone!

Laserdollarz58 karma

Favorite type of potatoes? Discuss flavor, texture, color, and picture quality.

amandeaux243 karma

My iPhone! Terrible picture quality, but nice texture. Flavor is meh.

DutchGX57 karma

I'm going to tag you as the potato queen. Thanks for the AMA very informative!

amandeaux49 karma

I love it!

pillowsftw49 karma

If you were given the choice to change your career path, would you? What would you want to do instead of being a potato scientist?

amandeaux123 karma

I would do the same thing I'm doing now, only with a crop that didn't require so much digging!

Iama91444 karma

So are potatoes the most nutrition food that you can have?

amandeaux76 karma

In terms of calories!

Iama91431 karma

Yeah like if you could only have one food to live with what would you choose?

amandeaux139 karma

I think I'm obligated to say potato

vegannurse42 karma

Why does that potato center brown rot happen mostly to bigger potatoes? I have grown lots of potatoes and have only seen it in the larger ones.

amandeaux69 karma

When the potatoes grow rapidly, it can split apart the center and/or damage the cells that can lead to rotting in the center. Is it happening to larger ones that are being harvested at the same time as smaller potatoes you're digging up?

rainbow888836 karma

What agricultural techniques make the tastiest potato?

amandeaux71 karma

Adequate water and nutrition! Potatoes don't like excess water (and on the flip side, nematodes like excess water and like to bite potatoes), but they're not drought tolerant either!

trouble_tree16 karma

That's really interesting! I've always been under the impression that potatoes are pretty reliable crops. Are they not?

(Disregarding the Irish Potato Famine, that is, because that disaster was a culmination of a lot of unfortunate human decisions and natural conditions.)

amandeaux21 karma

Well, we're having more and more problems with disease like early and late blight that can really wipe out a whole crop. I'd say they're reliable as far as any other crop we produce large scale, but when you're producing large scale and you get an instance of a disease like that, you're spraying like 2-3 times per week.


I want to grow my own potatoes this year. When should I start? Any tips? I'm in California.

amandeaux51 karma

Start as soon as you know there won't be any more freezes, I'll be planting mine a little late at the end of this month because I didn't fumigate in time. Best tip: don't over water, but don't under water. Potatoes are sensitive when it comes to water!

AkashahRazif23 karma

What's your favourite type of potato?

amandeaux45 karma

Red lasoda, delicious and beautiful!

lCt16 karma

What's the best (hardiest/easiest) potato to grow in temperate environments. New Jersey specifically.

amandeaux30 karma

Honestly, potatoes are VERY easy to grow! You're pretty much limited by the seed pieces you can get in Jersey, you'll have a bad time if you just cut up store potatoes and try to grow them (lots of disease, usually).

coredumperror12 karma

Which type of potato, in your opinion, tastes best?

Also, what's your favorite non-potato pass time?

amandeaux29 karma

I like red lasodas, but I specifically like the potatoes on the edge of the field that didn't get adequate water/nutrition. They're small and creamy, super delish!

jhenderson32099 karma

How did you decide to study potatoes? What kind of schooling is necessary for such a job?

amandeaux20 karma

Graduate school in any plant related field or environmental science! When I first started grad school, I didn't know much about agriculture and just had a background in environmental science.

Banana428 karma

Are potatoes grown for sale in Florida? It always seemed that it was more of a mountainous crop, because, you know, Idaho being famous for potatoes and all.

amandeaux13 karma

We grow them here because it's warmer here, so we can sell them earlier and get a higher price for them :)

MacxZim8 karma

-What's your favorite dish with potatoes?

-Is true that too much potato can cause harm in the long term to a human body?

-Can you submit a potato quality pic as proof?

-What's the BEST quality of potatoes?

-What have you discovered so far?

-What is your current research on potatoes?

amandeaux21 karma

Look up the instagram pic, I'm holding up some potato plants we grew and they're beautiful red lasodas! My favorite dish is hachis parmentier

MacxZim6 karma

Thanks for the potato quality picture.

Now where are the rest of the answers?

amandeaux9 karma

I'm trying to keep up!

amandeaux9 karma

I'm not sure about causing harm to the body? I'm more worried about potato health, not human health! As far as quality, I love me some under-watered red lasodas! I've discovered that controlled-release fertilizer is a viable alternative to traditional practices and potato farmers can maintain yields in Florida, while reducing nitrate leaching!

amandeaux13 karma

I did! That's where I was asked to to an AMA

papasmurf8264 karma

Every so often I'll come across something saying that one could eat nothing but potatoes and butter, and they could do so indefinitely as it supplies all essential nutrition. How much truth is there to that - obviously with the carbohydrates from the potato and fats from the butter, but beyond that?

amandeaux11 karma

You'd be seriously deficient in some important micronutrients!

accountnumber022 karma

What is the superior potato? There are different types of potatoes right?

amandeaux6 karma

There are tons of different varieties! It's a personal call, though. It also depends on what you're going to use them for.

77ScuMBag772 karma

So you're a Potato Scientist, in Ireland? Do you ever have a shortage of work?

I'm sorry, that was terrible. I'll see myself out

amandeaux10 karma

I'm not in Ireland, I'm in Florida. I mean... haha I get it! :)

Redditacious1 karma

I have heard horrid things about how chemically treated potatoes are that are farmed for supermarkets and such. I.e. soaked in fungicide and pesticide and then fungicide again, and of course a few sprays of pesticides during growing. I've heard it's so bad that severe genetic damage occurs to the plant overtime and that's why potatoes aren't as nutritious anymore. All anecdotal things so I have no idea if it's based in fact. Any knowledge on this subject?

amandeaux3 karma

I can attest to all of the spraying, that's for sure!

cypherreddit1 karma

If I were to take a grocer potato, cut it up, throw it in a large bucket of potting soil and eat the new growth, would I be a moron? I live in a near-tropical environment. If not a moron, are there any complementary plants that can be planted with it?

amandeaux3 karma

You're not a moron, but you're more likely to have issues with disease if you do that!

Surlyt0m1 karma

We put a potato under my roommate's bed because he's a messy fucker, how long do we have before Messy Roommate notices it?

It's been 3 weeks and agent potato is still undetected.


amandeaux4 karma

You probably should have gone with something that will go bad faster, but he'll eventually find a smelly, squishy thing of nightmares!

yekoms71 karma

where did you go to grad school? I work in a tomato lab!

amandeaux2 karma

UF, that's awesome! My advisor did a lot of tomato work!

ArgonGryphon1 karma

Are certain varieties of potatoes better for different cooking methods the way apples are?

amandeaux2 karma

Yep! But it usually tells you right on the bag what the variety is best suited for!

InfamousT121 karma

I'm guessing you live in Idaho?

amandeaux2 karma