19 May 2013


For the past five years or so, I've planted potatoes in the spring.  Last year I ended up with too many
potatoes, so this year I only bought one 5lb bag of red potatoes.  They are my favorite and I didn't need so many this year.  We had a really warm early spring and I planted about the time I usually do - February 15th - and everything seemed fine.  Then the rains came.  I've lost count now, but we had five major downpours between late February and mid-April.  I thought my potatoes would rot, but they persevered.  It wasn't until early May that I noticed I had a problem.  It looked like I had a disease on my potatoes.  I consulted the Clemson Extension, and my best guess is that my potatoes had late blight.

So, how could I have prevented this?  I always by certified disease-free seed potatoes.  There are resistant varieties, but when buying at the feed store, there's not much choice.  Keeping the foliage dry would have helped, but with so much rain, there was nothing I could do.  I usually clean up the plant debris and don't leave that lying around to spread pests and diseases.  Another problem that could have caused this is that I have planted potatoes in this spot for a number of years and have not rotated my crops like I should have been doing.

In the future I will be planting potatoes somewhere different, but this year I did get a decent harvest, so I'm satisfied  For more information on potatoes and their problems, click here.

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