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Doomed spuds??


 
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f&vlady
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:47 pm    Post subject: Doomed spuds?? Reply with quote

Hello there, I'm new to site and new to veggie growing, my first attempt at spuds and think maybe I've made a boo boo lol Embarassed .I have some set in bags with compost a la Monty Don and some set in raised bed a la me, loads of foliage but no flowers yet, all were chitted and set about mid Feb but have seen posts re seed potatoes, I just used ordinary supermarket spuds(roosters), nearly sure Monty said in vid any spud will do, are my spuds doomed?? do I chuck them or persist in hope? oh and could someone tell me what BBCode is and what does it do? Confused Thank you
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never discovered why in all my years, but in some years no flowers appear on the spuds. Sometimes if you look carefully you will see tiny buds forming then they just vanish. You can still see the tiny stems on close inspection where the buds were. Other years flowers are found in abundance. So, I wouldn't think your spuds are doomed due to lack of flowers, possibly the opposite.
The trouble with supermarket spuds is, they aren't certified. But having said that, I more often than not use them myelf as well as seed from my own spuds, so worry not, just check the seed spuds your using to make sure they are clean and clear of blemishes and disease.
I bought a bag of certified seed spuds a couple of year ago, about 75% were infected by blight!! They went straight back with the largest of them being placed in a position where the sun doesn't shine. So, even so-called certified spuds give you no guarrantee.
Bill.

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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

certified seed potatoes are not certified free of blight , certified only as being free of virus diseases. All potato varieties do not produce a blossom eg Homeguard a very early variety. There is nothing wrong using ware potatoes from the supermarket and generally they are free of virus. Rooster is a main crop variety and has a long way to go before the tubers are big enough. keep looking after them and they will produce.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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Michael196
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

f+v LADY,

If roosters are a main crop potatoe, then they may not be due to bloom yet, only early variedties are bloomong and due at the moment.....
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

michael brenock wrote:
certified seed potatoes are not certified free of blight , certified only as being free of virus diseases.


Yes, I'm well aware of that, Michael, Certification is done by Agriculture Departments, they should not be giving certification to potatoes that are as sub-standard as that. Potatoes are certified free of virus, they are also, like all crops being sold for seed, like wheat etc, supposed to be healthy and free of obnoxious disease and pests. It doesn't actually stop at virus. By allowing any pest or virus or bad bacteria through with a seed, whether potato, wheat, corn or whatever, if it's purpose is to produce crops, can cause devistation and badly affect a country's economy. it shouldn't get certification as a food crop.
Blighted potatoes seed are not supposed to be sold as seed. Neither would they allow such a seed to be sold if one colarado beetle was found in the potato batch. All these things invalidate them as a seed crop.
I would also argue that selling blighted potatoes as a seed crop is more devastating than virus which is seen less often than blight. You can produce a virus free potato from a virused plant, but you can't get rid of blight from your soil when it gets hold.
We all know what happened before when Ireland and Scotland were hit by the blight famine.
Bill.

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f&vlady
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject: Thank you Reply with quote

Hi and thank you to all who answered my question, will continue to look after my spuds and hope for the best. Thanks again Smile
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill very good post. Normally potatoes are free of blight and other fungus and virus and bacterial disease but it is the virus that has the priority because of it's potential to spread. ware potatoes must be free of disease but they may have virus present.The potato blight does not exist in the soil but infected tubers. Your comment about obtaining virus free seed from virus infected plants does not tally with my understanding of plant viruses. Irish cerified seed potatoes are produced in scotland????
michael brenock
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michael,
You can produce virus free plants from virused stock in two ways, it is done regularly in order to keep plants virus-free. The first method is to sow plants from green seed. I do this regularly with orchids when wishing to ensure that a particularly rare species or a hybrid of extreme interest requires propagation. Seed pods are a sterile unit inside. No virus or other foreign contaminant will be found within the seed pod/capsule. As soon as the pod begins to ripen, virus immediately enters microscopic fissures in the pod infecting the seed as the sterile barrier breaks down. A bit like having babies or adults in a sterile and virus free unit in a hospital, but much more efficient. So, to produce a virus-free plant from a plant with virus, the seed pod is removed from the plant and taken into a lab where it is placed in a laminar-flow cabinet. The timing is crucial, too early, no viable seed, too late and you have virused seed. The pod is green ie. immature. The seed is sown (after sterlising the outside of the pod) under sterile conditions and sealed, then grown on as normal. When it reaches ideal conditions they are removed from the sterile units and weaned from agar to compost. they then grow as normal. It also has the added advantage of producing adult plants in about 60% of the usual time.

The second method is to clone the plants using the plant's meri-stem. The meri-stem is found in a growing point of all plants. The growth bud is removed, then placed in the laminar-flow cabinet, after sterilising, the bud is dissected down to the meristem under a high-powered microscope, not that high-powered really, a tiny microscopic bud at the heart of the growing tip. This meristem is then placed in an agar solution and spun for a set time. The spinning confuses the meristem and instead of producing a growin point, it could produce up to a hundred. This protocorm is then taken back to the microscope and each growing point dissected from each other then given the same treatment as the original, spun until multi-growing points are formed, sorry I can't remember the name of the machine or what the spinning process is called, and then dissected into individual plants, perhaps producing around 5,000 plants from one meri-stem in a several days. Each dissected growing point is grown on under sterile conditions until they can be weaned onto soil.
Due to the extreme difficulty of propagating orchids, these methods of propagation were devised, I think in the early 1930's. When it was discovered then how easy cloning was, and how sterile the meri-stem and green seed are they used the same tequniques to grow virus-free food crops, potatoes in particular. Using meri-stemming (cloning), mature plants can be produced extremely quickly. Potatoes can reach maturity within one season and produce tubours. All virus-free potatoes originate from this procedure. Potato viruses are now an extremely rare thing and people wonder if certifying them virus free is worth the time and money. A bit like smallpox. It's there, but it's rare.

Under agricultural laws, When certifying a plant as virus-free, particularly a food crop, it is essential that the plant being certified is also free of all other obnoxious disease and bacteria as well as animal and insect pests, this is more important if the said plants are for export. Any other pest or disease automatically disqualifies them from any type of certification.
Bill.

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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bill I know where you are coming from now, and you are correct in your information on meristem propagation and micro tubers.
the potato certification scheme datesfrom the forties so i think you appreciate where there is a lag between the science and the actual operation.
Thanks Bill always great to read your contributions.
Michael brenock
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Liparis
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you on the certification, it shows how lax the system has become. All seed potatoes are cultivated through micropropagation at the research station up by Dundee in Scotland, they are then grown on under strict regime in the surrounding fields to keep them virus-free. A batch sample is tested to ensure no virus has reached them then they get certified. Potatoes really can't get out of there with blight or anything else. I was actually very doubtfull about the certificate attached to those potatoes that were badly blighted, it gave no station number or country of origin, I pointed this out to the vendor, but perhaps I should have pointed it out to the authorities.
Bill.

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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill You have more confidence in the dept of Agric than I have.
michael brenock
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