There are many dangerous forms of disease and fungi that can infect crops. Potato blight has wreaked havoc throughout history, so planting varieties that are resistant to blight makes the most sense.
What potato varieties are blight resistant: Common varieties of potatoes that are resistant to blight include Setanta, Cara, Acoustic, and Nicola. When planting potatoes, make sure there is proper drainage in the soil. If your potatoes do become infected, immediately remove them from your garden and place them in the garbage, not your compost.
What is potato blight?
Potato blight is a result of a fungus that is incredibly fast-moving. Basically, once the fungus infects a potato plant, it can destroy the whole plant in just a few days.
The blight will attack the whole plant but you can really see the results in the potatoes. They will shrink on themselves as the fungus rots the inside.
One of the major issues is that once one potato plant is infected with potato blight, it is hard to contain it. Basically, if you have one infected plant, you need to remove all of your plants and you will lose your entire crop.
Are there blight-resistant potatoes?
Thanks to modern farming, there are now many varieties of potatoes that are resistant to blight. While you can take your chances with other types of potatoes, you do so knowing the risk and devastation that could happen.
Potato Varieties that are Resistant to Blight
Known for their bright red skin, this is a popular variety of blight-resistant potatoes. They can even thrive in wet conditions, so if you live in a temperate climate, this is a great choice.
Setanta potatoes are quite versatile so you can still use them for all your cooking needs. This includes roasted and mashed potatoes as their flavor is robust and pairs well with most seasonings.
The thin, yellow-white skin can be kept on Cara potatoes, as long as you clean them up first, which will cut down on the amount of preparation you need to do in the kitchen. These potatoes have a high yield and you can store them for up to a few months in the right conditions.
Cara potatoes can be used in plenty of dishes but they are perhaps the best for mashed potatoes. Their texture is nice and silky after they are cooked.
Those that want an easy time gardening will appreciate Acoustic potatoes. This variety will grow just about anywhere and doesn’t need any special soil conditions.
You can store Acoustic potatoes for a few months in cool, dark areas. They have a nice texture to them and can be cooked in almost any manner.
Another red-skinned potato variety, Sarpo Mira potatoes have the added advantage of not only being resistant to blight but also to slugs. They are oval in shape and their foliage is rather large so their leaves take over the garden, thus choking out weeds.
Sarpo Mira potatoes can be eaten with the skin on them as it is fairly thin. They are great as mashed potatoes, especially with the brightness of the skin to add a colorful design.
These potatoes have a distinct oval shape to them and a lovely, yellow color. They grow in abundance so are perfect if you have a large family to feed.
Nicola potatoes have a slightly waxy texture, which makes them great if you want to eat them in a potato salad or in small, roasted pieces. They also store well.
How to prevent potato blight
Dispose of infected plants
Potato blight moves quickly so if you suspect any of your plants as having the fungus, immediately remove that plant and dispose of it correctly. You can’t compost infected plants as the spores won’t break down and instead, will spread to the rest of your garden.
Instead, place the diseased plants in a plastic bag, seal them, and then put it in your garbage bin.
It may seem like a lot of extra work, but you can also err on the side of caution and remove any plants that are nearby the infected one. The more of a barrier you can create between your healthy and diseased plants, the more you can salvage.
Even if your potato plants are healthy, it is still wise to employ crop rotation. This is when you plant the same crop in a different part of your garden each year.
Sometimes, there can be bacteria or fungus lurking in the soil from a previous crop. This will usually only affect plants of the same family, so if you plant different plants in that area, they have a better chance of staying healthy.
Potatoes are a part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. This means that you can’t plant potatoes where you planted tomatoes the previous year.
Keep soil moist but not wet
Fungi thrive in dark, damp conditions. When planning your garden, ensure your soil has proper drainage so that water doesn’t pool.
If you have a lot of clay in the area, dig it up and mix it in quality topsoil. You can also add a layer of gravel to the bottom of deep holes where you want to plant to help with drainage.
Aim for soil that is moist but not sopping wet. If there is extra organic matter mixed in, such as compost, it will hold the water better and slowly release it into the soil.
What are some potatoes that are hard against disease?
Always grow potatoes that are native to your area. Instead of using potatoes that you buy from a supermarket, find local varieties as they will be more adaptable to your soil conditions.
Look for blight-resistant varieties, such as Setanta and Nicola, which have been engineered to withstand blight and other diseases.
Potato blight is a fungus that quickly spreads through the whole potato plant. If left unchecked, it can then work through your entire potato crop and even leave spores in the soil that can damage the next year’s crop. Use blight-resistant varieties, such as Cara and Setanta potatoes for the best results.