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Storing spuds? Blight??Best practice???


 
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:35 pm    Post subject: Storing spuds? Blight??Best practice??? Reply with quote

I lifted my Lord Rosedale spuds today. They are a heritage variety, red skinned, delicious and floury, though need care in cooking or you could easily end up with soup.
About two weeks ago I noticed what I presumed to be blight on some of the plants. I texted a friend a photo and he agreed, so I immediately cut down all the haulms and disposed of them. I left them until now to lift in order for their very fragile skins to thicken up a bit. However, two or three plants were badly affected and I removed their decomposing spuds as I dug. I have about 10kg from an area 7ft x 3ft 6in and I have left them to dry overnight in my airy shed. That may not seem a lot, but together with my remaining 3 growing bags of Sharps Express we will have plenty until Christmas.
So far, so good, but I have a few questions for the spud experts:
- Other than picking them over carefully when I brush any remaining soil off, and removing suspects, is there anything else I can do to help them store well? (I'll put them in paper bags in a dark, cool place.)
- I had hoped to save seed from them; is there anything I can do to lessen the chance of the seed developing the blight - I know it's spores are airborne, but they may already be contaminated. Would it be useful to wash them with e.g. Permanganate of Potash?
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I am no expert but this is what I did last year. We had maincrop only last year and harvested approx 2.25 tonnes. We got a touch of blight about the end of September so I cut all the haulms off with a petrol strimmer, left them in the ground for a week or so as I just hadn't the time to dig them all up at that point. These were then washed and left out to dry for a day or two and then stored, several people told me that I shouldn't wash them as they wouldn't store well but I can assure you that they were wrong. The washing seemed to do no harm at all, and yes a few went rotten in the storage bins but I reckon that happens anyway. Most Saturday mornings I used to check them and basically use your sense of smell until you find the offending article. The storage bins were euro pallettes that I laid a sheet of ply over the base and then I used those hinged raising pieces four high and surrounded all six sides with 50mm insulation in a dimly lit shed. Snug as a bug they were all winter and we only ate the last of them about 6 weeks ago. If it aint broke don't fix it. Expecting about 6 tonne this year and plan on doing the same again.
I suspect that if the blight is in them then there is little or nothing that you can do. I saved a lot of seed from last year in hessian sacks, enough to plant 1050 linear metres, in the same bins and am looking forward to a bumper crop again.
Got the dreaded blight again this year in the earlies crop last week, about 40% are affected so the strimmer was out again and I am digging up a good few every day. Will leave the healthy ones in the ground until needed.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that, Tw. I'll go ahead with my storeage plans. I'll probably wash the seed briefly, the rest I'll just brush off.
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