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my own potato famine


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I planted potatoes for the first time this year in a well drained piece of ground that had never been a garden before and there isn't another garden for three or four houses away. They were doing great for almost two months and then I saw the little red spots on the leaves. Early blight. They all have it.

 

Everybody here grows potatoes without this problem, so my question is did I get some bad potatoes to start with, or can this early blight show up with the wind?

 

I'm digging up great small potatoes and enjoying them, but just curious as they say I shouldn't grow them again in the same spot for three years.

 

Knock on wod my tomatoes haven't gotten it.

 

Anybody?

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I bought the seed potatoes from Carrefour, a big box retailer, but they were certified. Maybe just my luck.

 

I live in the southwest corner of France, but Spain isn't far away. The small ones boiled and buttered are pretty damned good though.

 

Thanks,

 

Pete

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I'm surprised to hear that you've been recommended to use a 4-year rotation for garden spuds. Five years is the minimum typical rotation used here for potatoes as an agricultural crop. We use a 6-year rotation here on our farms in Essex, and an 9-year rotation up in Scotland. One local grower employs an 18-year rotation: that would make domestic spud production a little trying though.

 

Potato agronomy is a dark art, and something best left to specialists.

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Thanks for the info. I have to clarify that it is a small problem, given my investment of 6 Euros and 25 square feet of dirt.

 

Here in the Basque country almost every garden is loaded with them, and I'll have to start looking more closely to see if anybody else has issues with it.

 

Thanks,

 

Pete

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Pete, although I appreciate that we are looking at this from differing perspectives, I would be interested to learn more about the soil you are working with, what (if any) fertilisers you are using etc. Perhaps you're working a gorgeously deep bed of silt, free of nematode worms and slugs, this enabling that shorter rotation to be practicable.

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No It'll take more than a bad potato crop to get me back to California. France would have to run out of red wine, cheese and pretty women before I'd think of it.

 

Baldrick, I can't speak in scientific terms about the dirt, but I'm a biologist and my dad was an ag chem guy for his carrer with Shell, so I know what a nematode is. My perception is that is great soil. Light, not much clay if any, drains very well, and lots of worms. All other plants in the garden are Boone and Crockett without any fertilizer, and only a small addition of horse manure when I tilled.

 

Up in the mountains, where our farm is, they have very good gardens, mostly tomatoes, peppers and beans, but they have great winter gardens with leeks onions and cabbages. They put in potatoes first in March, then everything else in late May. My sense is that they grow potatoes every year in the same garden. Potatoes and most vegetables are so cheap here, that you really garden for that extra quality and taste plus the hobby.

 

All of southwestern France is planted in field corn, except for a bit of winter wheat. The corn does very well year after year.

 

My internet search said that the blight would likely go to my tomatoes and I should do the spouds again for 3 years.

 

In northern California it never rains between April and October, so our challenge was water. Great tomato and corn weather, but my dirt was never good enough for a tuber or root veggie of any kind. Too much clay. The clay in the Sacramento Valley enables us to grow all that rice though.... and shoot all those ducks and geese.

 

Thanks,

 

Pete

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Pete

 

I'm not sure what you are describing is blight. I never get blight on my early pots but nearly always if i grow maincrop and then only late on in August or September. Blight is usually dark brown blotches that get progressively worse. Have you considered rust or capsid bug? where the spots turn to holes.

 

Just a thought.

 

Regards

 

P

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I hope I didn't overreact and misdiagnose. It looked exactly like pictures of "early Blight" I saw on the web. They were small red spots, starting at the lower older leaves, and after time they did get larger, darker and less round. That was exactly the description of early blight I had found. I didn't wait long enough to see if the leaves would get holes in them.

 

I did plant in March, and it has been wet. I figured for my little garden, I'd enjoy the small ones and re-think.

 

Pete

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Thanks Al4X... I was heading there myself. I had virgin dirt, no adjacent gardens, and WHAM I get this ****.

 

I hope by cutting the tops early on and getting the potatoes out, I may be able to try again next year.

 

Just like a brothel.. you pays your money and you takes your chances

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Although it is early for blight there are many varieties of blight. some early some late. It may well be blight you have. I did think it might have been rust after your first post, but the subsquent posts seem to confirm that it is blight.

 

Cut the tops and burn them, leave the potatos in the ground till you want them. That way the are seperated, if you pick them now and bag them, one blighted potato will spread to all the bag. Blight is also air bourn not from the soil so rotation apart there is no reason why you cannot grow potatoes in the same ground again. They have been doing it on Jersey in the same ground for 100's of years.

 

TC

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