Prob­lem solv­ing

Gardeners' World - - Best-ever Potatoes -

Blight Brown­ing and death of fo­liage and rot­ting tu­bers. Un­likely to af­fect ear­lies, but a prob­lem from July on­wards in wet, hu­mid sum­mers.

So­lu­tion Cut off af­fected fo­liage and har­vest tu­bers as soon as pos­si­ble, cut­ting out all black ar­eas. Do not com­post in­fected fo­liage or tu­bers, and do not grow pota­toes on pre­vi­ously in­fected ground.

Eel­worm Poor growth, yel­low­ing and wilt­ing caused by these un­der­ground pests.

So­lu­tion Prac­tice crop ro­ta­tion and avoid grow­ing plants on land pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by pota­toes. Plant eel­worm-re­sis­tant va­ri­eties.

Slugs Keeled slugs tun­nel into tu­bers and can make se­ri­ous in­roads into crops of main­crop tu­bers.

So­lu­tion Har­vest as soon as the crop is ready. Avoid freshly ma­nured ground, which will be more at­trac­tive to the mol­luscs. Or­ganic con­trols such as Ne­maslug can be wa­tered on when the soil is at a suf­fi­ciently high tem­per­a­ture. Plant slug-re­sis­tant va­ri­eties.

Woodlice Gen­er­ally at­tack af­ter slugs have made in­roads.

So­lu­tion Har­vest early to avoid them.

Scab Preva­lent on light, dry soils and those con­tain­ing chalk. So­lu­tion Choose scab-re­sis­tant va­ri­eties. All traces of scab can be re­moved by peel­ing the spuds and no sig­nif­i­cant harm is done.

Small pota­toes Gen­er­ally caused by lack of mois­ture and nu­tri­ents.

So­lu­tion Add fer­tiliser at plant­ing and wa­ter thor­oughly dur­ing dry spells. Ma­nure an area ready for grow­ing a hun­gry veg­etable this year, and then use the same place for your pota­toes the fol­low­ing year.

Vi­ral dis­eases Dis­torted and yel­low­ing fo­liage, and re­duced yield.

So­lu­tion Buy and plant only ‘cer­ti­fied’ seed pota­toes, which should be virus-free.

Blight causes the leaves to shrivel and turn brown be­fore spread­ing to the tu­bers, which rot

Small, per­fectly formed holes sig­nify slug at­tack, while scabs show that the crop is in­fected by bac­te­ria

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