Unfortunately for the
past few years we have been troubled by potato blight. Here are some suggestions that would perhaps
help avoid or keep at bay this unwanted disease.
More advice and pictures of the symptoms can be found here.
What is it? It is an airborne fungal disease. How does it
start? It starts with last years
potatoes being left and rotting in the beds overwinter.
What can I do? Make
sure all potatoes are removed from your bed before winter. If you see any surviving potatoes from last
year appearing remove them as they may well be infected.. Preferably destroy
any potatoes left in the bed before spring.
The spores from the disease spread in warm wet conditions
and the disease doesn’t normally appear until late June /early July with warm
Planting early potatoes and lifting them early is one way of
beating it before it has a chance to start.
Signs of Blight; The
leaves have dark blotches mainly on the tips and edges. They become watery. The plant will collapse
and die quickly. The leaves shrivel and turn brown.
The tubers have black sunken bits or go mushy and foul with
bacterial soft rot. There is a reddish brown
decay below the skin. Sometimes they look okay but they rot in storage.
What can be done? To escape infection we can earth up the
potatoes or put mulch around them. We should smooth out any cracks in the earth
so the spores don’t get in.
Earthing up prevents the spores washing down into the
All infected leaves should be removed immediately. When 25%
of the plants leaves are infected the stem should be cut down right to the
ground. The plant should be deposited for
burning. This will stop the disease
spreading down the stem into the ground and potatoes. The potatoes should be left in the bed for three
weeks. This will allow the skins to harden. If they are left longer they will be on the
menu for slugs. Mainly they should be left this long to avoid infecting the
tubers with spores when lifting.
Potatoes Buy good quality seed potatoes. Potatoes will long leggy shoots will not give
such a good crop of potatoes. Scotland
traditionally produced seed potatoes because the colder climate didn’t allow
viruses to develop.
Potatoes to avoid as they are prone to blight are king Edward and Ulster Chieftan
BLIGHT RESISTANT POTATOES
Firsr Early Orla
Rocket good disease resistant for
use in bags
Second Early Melody
Maincrop (these are lifted later and more prone to
All the Sarpo potatoes are the most blight resistant Mira, Gwyn, Shona, Axona, and Una
CARA SETANTA LADY BALFOUR
SANTE VALOR DRUID PENTLAND CROWN PENTLAND SQUIRE PENTLAND DELL KESTRAL ROMANO BLUE DANUBE KIFI DRUID
Many potatoes are resistant to other diseases. Online sellers will give full details.