Today's main feature is preventing potato blight, we have it most years and almost every garden will see it at least once. It's a big problem and it has caused 1million deaths many years ago (1840s) in Ireland because of it.
What is Blight?
Blight is a widespread disease in the Solanaceae family. It can destroy a potato plant in 10 days. It loves warm humid weather and wet summer weather so it's quite hard to get a solution for both. Dark brown spludges appear on leaves and on the potato and makes it really manky and inedible.
- Choose handpicked disease free tubers from respected organic suppliers
- Choose a site that's open and has a good airflow so it allows quicker time for the leaves to dry after rain
- DO NOT PUT THE DISEASED PLANTS ON THE COMPOST! It's really important you don't as spores can live overwinter and start again in the spring.
- If only a few leaves are affected cut them off and put them in a fire or destroy them, the plant will carry on growing
- Potato blight unfortunately can't be cured but in the UK organic standards certain protectant fungicides are currently permitted but not on a routinely basis
- Crop rotation will help prevent a build up of disease
- Plant early varieties if possible
- Do not water from above when blight is on the foliage as this can provide the ideal conditions for these new spores to seep through the soil and infect the tubers
- Harvest potatoes when ready and do not let them to sit in the ground