? Potatoes, from the Patch

digitS'

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This is the first year that I have intended a late harvest of potatoes in a long time. I'm wondering, why does the foliage die before frost?

Yes, I expected it. But, it looks like disease. It just occurred to me what should be a very nice harvest of potatoes may be compromised!

When I began growing potatoes again several years ago, my harvest of appropriate varieties began very early and leaves were only turning yellow. Understand the new potatoes (mostly with peas) are important to us. That was the schedule this year and mostly involved the Yukon Gold. For several years, I would harvest everything from one end of a bed to the other, completely digging out the bed over several weeks. This made the task quite easy as I would do this through the entire month of August.

The foliage would be cut as harvesting proceeded and I would try to give the un-harvested tubers 10 days or so to toughen their skins after taking off the foliage before they were dug. It makes a difference.

I rushed through harvesting a few veggies at the garden, yesterday. A primary reason for being there was to return Garbanzo the Dog to DD and send along whatever veggies she thought she could use. Then, I loaded the car and headed home. Had only looked at the failing potato plants.

Oh, there are plenty of Russet Burbank, Red Norland and Purple Majesty tubers attached to the foliage. After thinking that I'd better cut that foliage off soon, I'm on my usual break from that garden. But, if they were tomatoes, I'd think that they were dying of septoria. I'm not very familiar with early blight, having only thought that I was losing a tomato plant from it once. I read that potatoes can be infected - including the tubers! It's time for them to die back but .... LATE blight caused the Irish potato famine destroying tubers after harvest! I have never heard of that disease locally. Have you had problems with storage that showed up on foliage first? I sure didn't see any problems with the "new" potatoes.

Steve
who may be fretting needlessly ;)
 

flowerbug

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i think you are fretting needlessly, but i don't know much about growing potatoes either. historically they are a short season crop growng in upland habitat. the plants that stored as much energy into the tubers as possible would be the ones that survived. so the plants that can die back and suck as much energy from the stems before the frosts do the damage to the cell structures and pathways would be the ones that would have the edge there. at least that is my just-so story for them. :) good luck. :)
 

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