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Potato scab


by Jane Moore

I've never had a problem with potato scab before, but this year it's affected my precious Charlottes, particularly at one end of the bed.


Recently harvested potatoes mildly affected with scab.I've been harvesting potatoes like a lunatic for the past few weeks. First earlies and second earlies always seem to be ready at the same time.

I've been digging up some gloriously rotund first earlies, which have been brilliant for baking, roasting and general steaming and sautéing. I've also been harvesting my second earlies. Charlotte is probably my favourite potato variety - it's a beautiful golden yellow, with firm, waxy flesh and it boils beautifully for new potatoes and potato salad. I can't wait for my maincrop spuds.

My only complaint is that the potatoes have scab. I've never had a problem with potato scab before, but this year it's affected my precious Charlottes, particularly at one end of the bed. Potatoes thrive in acid soil, and potato scab is most likely to occur on sandy soil, especially if lime has been added. Scab is also more likely if the soil is allowed to dry out, so it's worth adding plenty of grass clippings and organic matter when planting the potato tubers, to prevent the soil from drying out.

Even though my soil is rich and silty, the hot period we had a few weeks ago obviously dried the soil out enough to create the perfect conditions for potato scab. It just goes to show how critical the critical watering period is.



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Gardeners' World Web User 24/07/2009 at 14:40

My Charlottes still haven't flowered, are they ever going to? And if they don't will I still have potatoes?

Gardeners' World Web User 24/07/2009 at 15:02

Gigi - I've grown charlottes this year and only had one or two flowers, and not on all plants, but I've had loads of lovely potatoes so far. Have a wee investigation down into the soil and see if you can feel any potatoes, get an idea of the size then decide whether or not to harvest.

Gardeners' World Web User 24/07/2009 at 16:21

I got my seed potatoes from the garden centre when they were giving away for free because it was the end of the season for them, but i planted them just in time and they have succesfully grown. But the thing is that they were a mix bettween earlies, maincrop and god knows what else. So when do you think the best time for me to harvest the lot of these will be?

Gardeners' World Web User 24/07/2009 at 19:11

I feel it is important to help native ladybirds, but a picture of what the lavae look like would be helpful for lots of people.

Gardeners' World Web User 25/07/2009 at 17:33

Good idea about photo of native ladybirds' larvae - please do it. Grown Nadine for first time, and in a container. Blight free, but a disappointing crop in terms of size and number of spuds. Why is that, I wonder (I did water regularly)

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