Skinner said that he was retired from hanging light poles, and sees gardening as a hobby now. At his country home, he grows corn, green beans, grapes, pears and other fruits and vegetables, in addition to potatoes, tomatoes and what appeared to be a hybrid of the two.
Potatoes (solanum tuberosum) and tomatoes (solanum lycopersicum) are of the same scientific genus, leading so several theories about cross-pollination, grafting and hybridization to produce a single plant capable of producing both foodstuffs.
The website www.desicca.de/plant_breeding/breeders/body_breeders.html cites one case of producing just such a hybrid. “Melchers, F (1905-1997) - Creator of the first vital tomato-potato hybrid through cell fusion.” Could Skinner have replicated the experiment, or maybe planted some of the hybrid plants? Perhaps the explanation came from a patch of normal tomatoes a hundred feet away, and bees cross-pollinated the potato plants, in the same way that a horse and a donkey (also of the same genus) produce a mule for offspring.
The fruit on the potato plants were approximately 1.5 centimeters in diameter, and green. The internal seed structures resembled a tomato strongly. They grew in large clusters on the plant.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record..