The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Wet spring causes potato dieback

Potato eaters paintingOur tomatoes seem unconcerned by the extra rains last month, but our potatoes went kaput.  That's right, the crop I told you needed nearly no care....  Sigh. 

My best guess is that they died from Verticillium wilt or maybe early blight, or one of the many other diseases caused by fungi and exacerbated by wet growing conditions.  Basically, the potatoes just died back earlier than expected, leaving behind puny tubers.

Every year, there are a few failures in the garden, and I'm honestly a bit relieved that this year's biggest failure is the potatoes.  We're once a week potato eaters, and I'd gladly trade the tubers for the deliciously sweet cucumbers we've been eating (the first year they've survived our cucurbit-unfriendly garden!)

Still, I like to learn from my mistakes, and I did discover a major one while researching potato diseases.  When I dug our potatoes last year, I accidentally missed a few which sat in the ground all winter and started to grow this spring.  This is very bad practice with potatoes since some diseases overwinter in the tubers.  So --- shun the fault I fell in!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Same thing has happened here with my potatoes, Anna. Honestly though, I think the spot I put them has too much moisture in the ground anyway, because it more less lies on an island between two streams. Oh well, you live and learn! Maybe I will find higher ground for next season.
Comment by Shawn B. Sat Jul 18 15:03:41 2009
Ours was in a pretty waterlogged location too. If I'd known it was going to be such a wet spring, I would have moved them to the drier part of the garden!
Comment by anna Sat Jul 18 16:13:04 2009

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