Gardening Magazine

A Chemical Attack?

By Mwillis
[A very topical subject, this...!]
One of the "Foremost" potato plants I am growing seems to have been the victim of a chemical poisoning. Not Novichok this time, but probably Clopyralid weedkiller.
A chemical attack?
As most readers will know, some of the potatoes I am growing at home in large plastic tubs are ones that I rescued from my new plot at Courtmoor Avenue last Autumn. I think it's possible that this one had been contaminated with weedkiller before I brought it home, because all the others (and the seed tubers I bought at the Potato Day I attended in January) seem to be OK. If the weedkiller were the soil / compost I'm using, I believe they would all have been affected. Look at these two side-by-side. One of the plants seems fine, but the other displays the "fern-like" and "spoon-shaped" foliage so characteristic of this type of chemical damage.
A chemical attack?
This year all my container-grown potatoes are in a mix of home-made compost and soil taken from a decommissioned raised bed.  Apart from the one seen above, they all look OK so far.
A chemical attack?
Long-time readers of my blog will possibly remember that a few years ago (2014) my garden suffered severely from weedkiller contamination in commercial compost, but I don't think any of that is still with me. I made strenuous efforts to avoid any of the affected material getting into my compost bins, and in any case I empty them completely at least once a year.
If you grow vegetables but also have a lawn, be VERY careful if you use any proprietary lawn-care products. In particular, never put grass clippings from a treated lawn into the Green Waste, because it will end up in the Municipal Compost and go on to devastate the crops of some other unsuspecting gardener!
I'm hoping the contamination in my garden is limited and a one-off, but I'll be keeping a very careful watch on my plants!

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