Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gardeners deny spreading potato blight


I just got this tweet forwarded from Monty Don; 'Potato council blaming gardeners for spread of potato blight. Fight this crap and resolve to grow your own next year.' It is true that the Potato Council has accused amateur gardeners of spreading potato blight – leading to poor harvests and price rises.

Chairman of the Potato Council, Allan Stevenson told The Grocer magazine: “People should be encouraged to grow their own veg to learn about the origins of their food, but blight risk is real and it would be preferable if people bought healthy, well-produced potatoes from a retailer, rather than grow-their-own.”

While a spokesman for the Royal Horticultural Society’s science department described the Potato Council’s comments as “unhelpful” and “not true”. He said: “The high price of spuds and low yields is due to late planting in May/June instead of April, low light levels in June, flood damage, high levels of blackleg due to wet weather on seed crops last year and late lifting due to the difficulty of getting machinery onto wet soil, leading to low quality tubers which have a limited storage potential.
“It is true that more blight has been reported from allotments but this, we would suggest, is because many allotmenteers have become registered blight scouts for the British Potato Council and more eyes mean more reports. It should be noted there are few allotments near big commercial producers.”

Indeed so carry on growing your own rather than those sprayed every week with fungicide.