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Potatoes in bags, blight and what to do with the compost


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  • Potatoes in bags, blight and what to do with the compost

    Oh wise, intelligent and diverse members, I've been blighted

    The Lady Christl's have had a major attack so I cut down the foliage to try (probably in vain) to prevent spread to the nearby Red Alert tomatoes. I have been following the Aspirin thread with interest and will probably give it a go, after all then the tomatoes will cure headaches as well

    However, a question popped into my head so I thought I'd write it down here so I don't forget and gain the advantage of your opinions. I know that blight spores end up in the soil and spread and such, so what do I do with the compost in the bags? If I add it to the compost bins and dig in next year am I just storing an issue? Round here we seem to get blight most years so maybe it's no worse but should I keep it or give it to the council?

    Just looked in the Potato book, resistance to foliar blight of LC is only rated 2 should have thought of that maybe. Cara gets a 5 so maybe they'll survive.....
    Last edited by Chippy Minton; 13-07-2014, 05:24 PM. Reason: Blight research

  • #2
    Blight doesn't actually contaminate soil in that way or survive the winter except on living tissue, such as old potato tubers. Most re-infection comes from 'volunteers' the tubers that resprout the next year, which should be rigorously removed as soon as they are seen. This is also the problem with compost heaps and putting blighted stuff there, as bits of tuber can survive unless all of your heap heats up to high temperatures.

    Like you I have been badly blighted this year and having thought yesterday that all my work pulling off leaves and pulling out badly affected plants (on the tomatoes) after two wet days, it is back with a vengeance, and I really think this is the end of the outdoor ones. Even spraying with Bordeaux mixture seems to have done little good.

    As for the compost in your bags, I would think these represent almost zero danger if you simply compost the contents over winter. Just make sure you have not left in pieces of stem or tuber from the potatoes.

    p.s. I should also say that in a very dry heap, or bin, bits of tomato and potato foliage manage to survive the whole winter almost intact and I am sure these will still carry the blight spores. Anything blight affected needs to be really thoroughly composted, or probably better destroyed or disposed of completely as others suggest. After all, it is such a destructive disease that every precaution is worth it.
    Last edited by BertieFox; 13-07-2014, 06:05 PM.


    • #3
      As Bertie explained blight can only survive on lining tissue, but my take on the problem would be 'is it worth taking the risk' for the cost of a couple of bags of compost next year. I would throw them.
      Potty by name Potty by nature.

      By appointment of VeggieChicken Member of the Nutters club.

      We hang petty thieves and appoint great ones to public office.

      Aesop 620BC-560BC



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