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Potatoes turning yellow - help!


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tagwex
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:21 pm    Post subject: Potatoes turning yellow - help! Reply with quote

Hello everybody, first post.
We are new to this vegetable growing and went for it big this year after a few attempts at container growing small amounts in previous years - with not much success! We now have a plot 30m x 15m with 12 different types of veg growing away happily. Approx. 2/3 of the plot is taken up with potatoes, Kerrs Pinks, Golden Wonders and Roosters. What with the recent hot spell we have been out watering every night with the 1/2 " hose and now the spuds are turning yellow but not wilting. Is it overwatering, underwatering or magnesium deficiency (done a bit of research)? The ground was wild with weeds for the last 11 years and hadn't been used at all. Blight spraying is done every 8th day. Only sowed them all (1040 plants) on June 10th, they are as high as 500mm already. Round up was used to kill the ground first with careful spot spraying being an ongoing thing. We had the ground ploughed, thoroughly rotavated and then drilled. On another point, do bigger plants produce a bigger crop? Also, is it too late to earth up? The photos are all of the Golden Wonders at different stages, but all three varieties are affected.



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Last edited by tagwex on Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dirt Digger
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well tagwex, I'm no expert and thankfully one should be along soon enough, but initially it smacks of a chlorosis based problem, in that something is deficient in the soil, or, more likely in light of the history you outlined, it is the result of residual after effect...all that Roundup being ploughed back into the soil...it will leave its mark, especially in dry weather when and where the rooting structure delves deeper for moisture, eventually playing catch-up with the weed-killer still be washed down the soil structure...but, I could be mistaken...
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohhhhh no. I hope you are wrong. But what throws me is that we sprayed the whole area with round up to kill everything but currently about 15% are yellowing. I was hoping that it was a magnesium deficiency. Couch grass is also a problem affecting about 30% of the plot in two areas but we are almost on top of that now with spot spraying of round up and pulling up by hand when too close to the plants. I was told that the round up could be being sucked in by the roots but I thought it was leaf absorption only. There are affected potato plants in weed free areas which throws that theory out.
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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
Blight spraying is done every 8th day.


Why such frequent blight spraying? There's been no blight warning for the last three weeks. There were 2/3 separate warnings last month, but were not nationwide.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:07 pm    Post subject: Blight spraying Reply with quote

Well 'My Potatoes' it's very simple. Why take a chance? This is our first year with a large vegetable patch, 18 potato plants last year in containers and took a chance and never sprayed for blight and lost them all, this year 1040 plants and not risking it. Took advice from a commercial grower when we started out who basically said just do it as there is no point risking it. It takes approx. 40 minutes to do each spraying at a cost of 2-20 per spraying. So with the cost of potatoes this year in the shops it's a no brainer for me. Any advice on the yellowing and earthing up?
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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi tagwex,

Regarding 2012, and I say this to friends and customers, "ignore it, take no lessons from it". It was an exceptional year. Despite being preceded by five straight bad summers it was far worse again, unimaginably bad. People are describing summer 2013 as "exceptional", but good weather like this happens in other countries. Bad weather like 2012 only happens once, alas in Ireland.

The blight warnings provided by Met Eireann are very reliable. Check the website every morning and you've got the required knowledge. There is no gamble involved.
I don't know what spray you use, but I use Burgundy Mixture. It's a chemical but is "organically acceptable", whatever that's meant to mean. It is said to be detrimental to earthworms which is why I use it sparingly. Other sprays are poisonous to humans. So long as your lettuce and salad crops (i.e. raw eaters) are far from your potatoes, or you don't consume them 'til the harvest interval has passed, this may not be an issue.

As for those yellow leaves, it looks like a deficiency of some sort but hard to tell really. Do you have a lot of it or is it just a few leaves here and there?

I'd say it's too late for you to earth up, or rise to the potatoes to use the Irish term. There's a good chance you'd break the haulms or physically damage the plants. It should be done when they're smaller, about 10-15 cms above the soil level. The best advice/opinion I can give on this topic is to have your rows further apart than the recommended distance. I was doing my maincrop yesterday. Despite the rows being 60cm apart I could have done with another 10 or 20 cms worth of soil to play with.

I'd considered getting this tool to make the task easier:
http://www.wolfgarten-tools.co.uk/multi-change-tools/grow-your-own-tool-heads/multi-change-ridger-20cm
... but haven't taken it any further.

I did write a post to see if anyone else had tried these tools. The first reply was off topic, something about Lidl and Aldi specials and it went wayward from there:
http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about6515.html

You learn something new every season. Except 2012, of course.

Oh yeah, btw, there's a blight warning in effect from tomorrow, with opportunities to spray today.
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Gautama
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1040 plants sprayed in 40 minutes? That's an incredible throughput; 26 plants per minute. Are you using a tractor or what?
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:00 pm    Post subject: Blight and other things...... Reply with quote

Hello 'My potatoes',

Met Eireann website - I do check this and I see we have a warning today so out with the sprayer shortly as we have a light mist here in Wexford all morning. Any views on these new European blight resistant strains, I'm afraid that I am of the opinion let someone else be the first in an area to chance it, why risk losing the crop?

Spray - I am currently using Proxanil and will be changing to Globe when that runs out as advised by my gardening 'guardian angel' who is advising me along the way until I become a bit more competent at this gardening lark. But I have to say we are enjoying it so far. Enthusiasm and willingness to put in the hours is in abundance. Interesting comment about the ' raw eaters', never thought about that, had better read the small print!

Yellow leaves - About 20% are affected now. We believe that it was caused by round up spraying. The plot was heavily cursed with Couch grass which outgrew the potatoes so something had to be done. With two sheets of perspex to protect the plants we went down the drills spot spraying very carefully and laboriously at a low level with a hood on the sprayer and the results were great. We had to hand pull the remainder between the plants. No potato plant died or curled up but we think the mist may have affected them or the spray was absorbed through the ground by the roots. I thought Round up was by leaf contact only.

Earthing up - OK if it's too late so be it, lesson learned for next year. But I still might give it a try with the rake or hoe - drills need tidying up anyway. Our drills are 28" apart and were done with a drill plough. 21 drills 30m long.

Tools - Interesting tools you have found there but they look a bit fragile. The drill former doesn't look adjustable in it's width so it may not suit my drills formed by a tractor and drill plough but I am sure it would have it's uses on smaller plots. When I think back how we sowed every seed by hand and now see that seed sower aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh. Especially the carrots.

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Speed spraying Reply with quote

Hello Gautama,

They call me Usain around here!!!! No tractor, just two size 10's.
Well when you put it like that then an hour might be closer to the mark. 16 drills at 30m long and three fills of the knapsack, just going out to do it now. I will time it and let you know.

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:39 pm    Post subject: Speed spraying Reply with quote

Well Gautama, it seems I am not as quick as I thought I was. 1 hour 40 mins and four fills of the knapsack. Thinking back, the first spraying was indeed only 40 mins but obviously there is a lot more foliage now. Or maybe I am just enjoying myself so much that I don't feel the time going by!!!
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not Magnesium deficiency, could be iron or manganese deficiency. Very unlikely to have been caused by Roundup/ My hunch is they will grow out of it, as they are very vigorous. keep us posted.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Michael, thanks for the input. So many theories now. How and what is the best way to treat the soil for iron and manganese deficiency? And, can the crop still be saved? Lots of other veg growing here too.
We only moved here in April and the ground (3/4 acre) was gone wild to say the least. Weeds as high as ourselves! But we were told that nothing had been planted here in 11 years.

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
Hello Michael, thanks for the input. So many theories now. How and what is the best way to treat the soil for iron and manganese deficiency? And, can the crop still be saved? Lots of other veg growing here too.
We only moved here in April and the ground (3/4 acre) was gone wild to say the least. Weeds as high as ourselves! But we were told that nothing had been planted here in 11 years.


Better off to do nothing until you positively identify the problem. You don't want to treat it for a deficiency that isn't actually present.

Farmers get their land analysed for crop suitability but I assume that is expensive, but maybe the garden centres have a kit for amateurs. The fact that the site has been fallow for so long makes me think it's not a deficiency. Maybe best to see how this crop fares and take action for next season if needs been, once you see your harvest.
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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: Blight and other things...... Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
Any views on these new European blight resistant strains, I'm afraid that I am of the opinion let someone else be the first in an area to chance it, why risk losing the crop?


I've over a dozen different varieties in the back garden but none are these new blight resistant strains. Whatever happens, I'll be spraying.
I like to try different varieties but I've heard that a lot of these new ones are waxy. I'm a floury man.

tagwex wrote:
Hello 'My potatoes',

Yellow leaves - About 20% are affected now. We believe that it was caused by round up spraying. The plot was heavily cursed with Couch grass which outgrew the potatoes so something had to be done.

I doubt it was Round Up. This would either kill the potato plant or do nothing. It has no residual effect from being used nearby, or earlier on.
The "roots" of couch grass make nutrient rich 'tea' for use as a liquid feed.

tagwex wrote:
Hello 'My potatoes',


Earthing up - OK if it's too late so be it, lesson learned for next year. But I still might give it a try with the rake or hoe - drills need tidying up anyway. Our drills are 28" apart and were done with a drill plough. 21 drills 30m long

Yeah, give it a go with a hoe or a rake. If you're doing no damage then all's good.

tagwex wrote:
Hello 'My potatoes',

Tools - Interesting tools you have found there but they look a bit fragile.

Yeah, looks a bit flimsy. Those "combi" or "multi" tools and equipment are never as robust as a single purpose implement.
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My Potatoes
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Re: Speed spraying Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
They call me Usain around here!!!! No tractor, just two size 10's.

What make and model do you have? My sprayer (Hozelock 5L) is just not doing it for me anymore. Needs constant re-pumping and the mist quickly changes into a droplet spray.
I like the idea of the old ones where there is a handle to pump as you use. Keep the pressure going.

Would also like one with a U-shaped nozzle-head to get at the underside of leaves. The Hozelock is grand for the upper leaf surface but getting underneath the canopy takes a bit of brushing and wand waving.
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