Guess what I’ve got?

(Here’s a hint: you don’t want it. Nobody wants it.)




(Last year’s – this year’s isn’t half as good; too damp. And that’s a clue, I guess…)



You’ve probably got it by now. Well, not literally I hope – yup, that’s right; I’ve got blight. (And I can even rhyme in the face of disaster…)

Well, not me, as such: my spuds. Of course.

Every year I expect it. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t; I grow earlies to even up the odds a bit. I have been accused of being neurotic about it, and expecting it to happen. Personally I think it’s some deep-seated ancestral race-memory, transmitted down the generations. But this year I was right.

It came on really fast. No doubt at all about what was that was making the leaves go spotty and yellow – no, not magnesium deficiency –  because I wasn’t quite fast enough myself cutting back the haulms and it hit the tubers. There’s nothing for it; I shall have to emulate my ancestors and take ship from the green and soggy west for the new world (mind you, that was Liverpool, in their case). Or go to Tesco.

I did try and kid myself for a day or so; the volunteer spuds that magically appeared in last year’s potato plot were fine. And then I remembered – they were a Sarpo variety, on test. Guess what I’ll be growing next year?

The ones that are OK are never going to keep, and everyone I know is eating spuds like mad. From the ones I’ve kept myself, I’ve made soup – several kinds – and frozen it, had potato pie, sauté potatoes, chips, roasties and rostis, mashed a few, and experimented with different salads. And I’ve got another patch to dig, too. Heaven only knows what’s going on underneath the ground there; I daren’t look.

So much promise. Bum.

These, I think, are the Juliettes. They’re the ones that have been wiped out. You have been warned.


20 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh, so sorry Kate 😦
    Shedman says he is never growing tatties again 😦

    Err, when you go to Tesco ….
    PS The angelica gigas atropurpurea may well be doing its thing by the end of the week, if you are passing.

    1. kate says:

      It’s a bummer. But I refuse to give up. I’m not being beaten by the feckin’ blight, no sireee. No ditch / famine road / Cobh of Cork for me.
      (I may be overreacting here.)

      Angelica gigas – wow!

  2. Ooh poor you! There’s nothing like the stench of rotting tatties is there? I hope the Sarpo are as good as they say for you next year.

    1. kate says:

      Isn’t it a bummer? They really pong – unmistakeable, though I think early blight isn’t quite as bad as late blight on the smelly front (though I may change my mind when we lift what remains). One of my friends has had blackleg, which sounds even worse, plus being disconcertingly 1970s and political…

  3. I know what you are going through – one of my rows is affected. I dug up the sickly plant and found one rotten potato underneath so I dug up the rest which seem okay. I don’t think its a very good year for potatoes none of mine have flowered – so possibly something sinister is going on. As you say – bummer.

    1. kate says:

      No, mine never got round to flowering either. In fact, they were very slow to get going, and looked ill from the off, which makes me wonder if they were clean when I got them. Hmm.

      Good luck with the rest of yours!

  4. Bridget says:

    It’s always a bummer when blight strikes. Here in Ireland there has been some study using milk as a preventative for blight and other fungal diseases. As a preventative use 1 milk to 4 parts water and apply every 10 days.

    1. kate says:

      Milk? That’s a great idea – it’s gone straight in my garden notebook for next year. I wonder does it work on tomatoes too? (It’s not yet spread… fingers crossed…)

  5. Harriet says:

    As you say, feckin’ blight! My potatoes were not looking too good when I last looked and I’m dreading the inspection that I know I must now make – well, that’s when it stops tipping it down.
    Never heard of the milk preventative, sounds interesting.

    1. kate says:

      Keep your eyes peeled — I’ve just heard of more cases… I still haven’t dug the second lot, but there’s no smell so maybe they’re OK. Hope yours are, too!

      (I’m going to try that milk thing, but it will have to wait for next year now. I’ll do anything, but that sounds really interesting.)

  6. Oh no! So sorry Kate. Makes me even more certain it is what we have too. Spuds with very little top growth, no flowers, and what leaves there are inclined to look sickly. Next door plot they have blight on one small patch and the rest of their potatoes look wonderful. Weird. Will ask TNG to dig up loads and we will eat them while we can. There’s always next year. Or Tesco. 😦 Beetroot looks good though! (She says trying to find the silver lining).

    1. kate says:

      I hate to say it, but that sounds just like mine. Where did you get your seed spuds from (if you used them)? It wasn’t Thompson and Morgan, was it?

      Beetroot’s OK but no substitute (sniff). Mind you, my celeriac looks stunning and the toms are coming along nicely, so it’s the usual swings and roundabouts in operation.

      1. Congrats on the celeriac! I have a grand total of one plant, but it seems happy. Next year I will know to water the seedlings LOTS. Interesting about T&M – the majority of the seed pots were indeed from them, ‘Swift’, the rest from Dobies. And today I confirmed that we have indeed been visited by the dreaded b-word…

        1. kate says:

          So sorry about the B-word. It seems to be a very ‘good’ season for it. Hrumpf. I thought your description of the growth etc sounded familiar… I wonder? Maybe next year I’ll get them from somewhere else, in case – but probably just a coincidence.

  7. easygardener says:

    I was a little slow with the picture clues! I think we may have Potato blight on the allotment but have not confirmed yet.
    It is Tomato blight I worry about as I love growing them so much. It sometimes gets into my greenhouse. I have tried the milk treatment without success but that was only once so it is probably worth another go. I think once blight arrives disaster surely follows 😦

    1. kate says:

      I think I was trying to distract myself with the pics! I’m watching my tomatoes like a hawk, because I didn’t have a very good year last year and I dearly love my toms, and they’re looking good at the moment (well, except for the fact that I got into a confusion with labels and seem to have a lot of Black Russians and only two Cuor di Bues, my favourite).

      I hope you’re wrong about blight and disaster!! Eek!

  8. Don’t go Kate! What a clever picture clue which I failed to pick up on, too taken with your images. Sorry to hear the blight has struck. I read that there are two strains now which can mate, adding to resistance problems! Good luck with the Tomatos

    1. kate says:

      I’m glad you liked the images – I was determined to find a way to illustrate the post that didn’t involve suppurating spuds!

      Mating strains! AGH!

  9. hillwards says:

    Boo. How disheartening. Well evaded with pretty pictures – I missed the clues the first time, and thought you were just showcasing the good before the bad 🙂

    Somehow our potatoes seem to have escaped so far and are rampant, but our garlic has rust (and a couple of bulbs that were actually a good size on speculative pulling had white rot) so will have to come up soon, small and early. Gaaa.

    1. kate says:

      I did think about photographing a spud for a nanosecond, but – ergh… My garlic picked itself effectively – some just keeled over, so I picked the lot before rot could set in generally. Just too wet, I guess, and I’ve got about half the crop I had last year. No rust, though…

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