Diaries Magazine

From Plot to Pot with a Little Bit of Blight In Between

By Hurtlingtowards60 @ronitee

This is the first year I have grown my own potatoes.  I bought seed potatoes, choosing Duke of York Earlies and cared for them whilst they chitted in egg boxes on the windowsill in my spare room.From Plot to Pot with a Little Bit of Blight In Between

When the eyes were a couple of centimetres, I planted them in a potato bag.   I even covered the sack with a wicker cloche to prevent animal damage, thinking a bag of soil could be great attraction to cats.  As the foliage grew, I added more compost and another few chitted potatoes until the bag was full.

From Plot to Pot with a Little Bit of Blight In Between

Pride comes before a fall.  The wonderful looking growth, was lush and full of promise, until last week.

One evening, I noticed little freckles on some of the leaves.  Initially I didn’t take much notice, not having grown potatoes before, it didn’t occur to me that it was a warning sign of a big problem looming.

From Plot to Pot with a Little Bit of Blight In Between

Almost overnight, all the leaves developed brown freckles and the horror that it could be potato blight hit me.  I Goggled “blight”and took a photo which I posted on Twitter.  Sure enough slowly the tweets arrived “looks like you have potato blight”.   Garden Tweeters are great not only was I given lots of advice, I also learned that the name for vegetable foliage was haulm.

Potato Blight is caused by a fungus Phytophthora infestans.  It spreads through the air and develops when the weather conditions are warm and humid and can happen overnight.  We have had warm dry weather and last week the rain we have been desperately in need of arrived, creating the ideal condition for blight infection to occur.  It is what caused the terrible famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 known as The Irish Potato Famine or The Great Hunger.  These days potato growers use what is called Smith Periods which are defined as 2 consecutive days with temperatures of at least 10°C and 11 hours of relative humidity of 90% per day.  There is a website called “Fight against Blight 2011″ where the Potato Council give regular blight alerts and advice on how to prevent it, as well as how to deal with it if you are unlucky enough to get it.

I could have used chemical treatments, such as Bordeaux Mixture, but I decided to cut away all the haulm and dispose of it.   If I left it the leaves would have turned brown and the spores would have washed down to the tuber causing dark spots on the skin and reddish-brown stains on the potatoes.  I was also advised to ensure that none of the foliage was put the compost heap, with burning being the best way of disposal.

There is a lot of information on the internet and most of it says that once the foliage is removed, you can leave the crop for at least two weeks to let the blight spores on the surface die.  I decided to dig out what was there and not run the risk of losing all the potatoes.  To be honest, there was also a tinge of excitement,

From Plot to Pot with a Little Bit of Blight In Between
at last, I had the opportunity to take a look at what was in the sack…

…REAL POTATOES, just like the ones you buy from the greengrocer – I had grown potatoes!  “So what“, some might say, “I grow potatoes every year, no big deal” but this was my first time and I was still disappointed I had been subject to blight, so to still have a crop at the end of the day was something I felt proud of.

From Plot to Pot with a Little Bit of Blight In Between
The next day, I had some for supper, boiled with a little bit of mint from the garden and they were delicious.

It may not be a bumper harvest, but hopefully there will still be some left in the potato bag to dig out in another couple of weeks.

I wish you all a blight free summer.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • A Bit Horticultural

    Horticultural

    A warm, sunny afternoon at last. We walk down 21st Street. I like wandering about imagining what it would be like to live in such and such house.This is one I... Read more

    By  Elizabethwix
    GARDENING
  • Pot-bound!

    Pot-bound!

    Regular readers will know that I like to report both my successes and failures here in my little garden, but sensitive readers might like to look away, right... Read more

    By  Gardenamateur
    GARDENING, HOME
  • A Little Bit of Rain

    Little Rain

    Scarecrow's Garden Log: 17:01:2011:Goldrush Lettuce first harvestfrom the Community Gardenjust right for our Market Day salad sandwich!Temperatures this... Read more

    By  Scarecrow
    GARDENING
  • A Little Bit of Everything - Week 22

    Little Everything Week

    Hello friends. Today I have some excited news to share with you. A little bit of Everything has its own domain. Drums please ... You no longer have to type the... Read more

    By  Greengirl
    SELF EXPRESSION
  • I Very Rarely Give out General, Over-all Compliments, but for Anyone Who Likes...

    Link I very rarely give out general, over-all compliments, but for anyone who likes a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of Goth, This blog is Amazing and you... Read more

    By  Lauramoodley
    DIARIES
  • The Pot Watcher

    Watcher

    I wore this in my hair instead of a veil We are back from our honeymoon and we had a lovely time. When we have pictures of the wedding I’ll post the results of... Read more

    By  Kristineduffey
    CREATIVITY, FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Bit of Knitting

    Knitting

    Sorry I've not been about recently. Ive been really poorly with my ME migraines. Feeling a little better today so I thought I would share with you some... Read more

    By  Ellephantastic
    ARTS & CRAFTS, SELF EXPRESSION