Poorly potatoes

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Tulipwood, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. Tulipwood

    Tulipwood Junior Member

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    By all accounts I appear to have attached two photos of my potatoes - I hope. This is my first attempt at growing potatoes and in general I am REALLY happy - have harvested lots of delicious Sebago potatoes ... it took me back to Easter Egg hunts or finding a hidden nest when the chooks were free ranging when i was a child.
    However ... I don't know if my potatoes are actually dying from natural causes, or whether they are sick. Not long after they first came up they were covered in lady beetles, but other than that I've not seen much in the way of good or bad insects around them. The leaves have all gradually become covered in these brownish spots which are see-through. The whole patch has got it and most of the plants look pretty dead - hence I harvested them.
    What do you think?

    Also, all so far have had beautiful potatoes ranging in size from tiny (cherry tomato size) to the normal size seen in supermarkets. However, one potato had about 1/2 its crop gone or going rotten. Is this from a disease, or maybe overwatering ....
     
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    not sure tulipwood,

    could be bug attak and other?

    yes ahrvesting was the thing to do as now is not teh right time for potato's as our experience has been, we have 2 plants going along nicely grown from certified seed potato's the lady beetles are giving them a bit of a go over but nothing disasterous, trying not to water too much at this stage of their season.

    the roting ones may indicate blight in shich case don't plant spuds there again, were they certified seedies? if so then it may be over watering or some other disease? can you show pic for the more expereince ones here?

    len
     
  3. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Is there any browning in the potatoes themselves ? I'm tempted to say its blight.

    It also resembles leaf miner damage.

    EDIT: I should read post fully instead of skimming... Yeah I agree with Len, given the leaf damage and rot in some of the potatoes i'd say its blight.
     
  4. Tulipwood

    Tulipwood Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    OK - thanks Len and milifestyle. POTATO BLIGHT didn't that wipe out a whole nation!!!

    Lesson 1: ONLY ever buy certified virus-free potatoes.
    Lesson 2: Bit embarrassing this one - get down on knees and look closely at plants to find bugs.

    I've attached two pics. One of the rotten potatoes. Yes, the skin is discoloured brown in places on the potatoes from this plant that are not rotten. No other plants so far are affected. There's about another 4 plants in the patch I haven't harvested yet. Should I harvest them post-haste? If they aren't obviously affected can I still eat them?

    The second pic is of the bug that is on the leaves of the plants - obviously the bug that has decimated the foliage and caused their early decline. Maybe just as well if potato blight is around.
     
  5. Tulipwood

    Tulipwood Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Was just reading up on potato blight. One article mentions that it can affect tomatoes and pumpkins too. I was going to use that bed for either pumpkins or watermelon now. Should I not do this? How should I manage that bed now?

    I have tomatoes planted nearby. Fingers crossed for them I guess.
     
  6. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Tomatoes, yes. Leave them out. Not sure on the pumpkin.

    I'd personally oversow the bed with green manure crops (mainly legumes) this season and perhaps plant a brassica in the bed after that. You could also use the bed as a compost pile for a while.
     
  7. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Here is some good info on blight: https://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell. ... ateBlt.htm

    Please note under 'Control': "...P. infestans requires a living host to survive between seasons. Therefore, sanitation (elimination or exclusion of infected plant parts from a farm) is important in the overall management strategy. Ideally, no infected potatoes should be present in the vicinity of the crop. Volunteer plants that might be infected should be destroyed. Cull potatoes should be frozen, crushed, fed to livestock, or buried under at least 2 feet of soil."

    Sue
     
  8. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    mmm not real sure the bug thingy could be lady beetle larva the l/b decimates the foliage if left unchecked, mmm also less sure about the spud damage looks eaten out hey, maybe someone else can pick up on that. did you see any soil living bugs when you harvested? like pill/sow bugs, earwigs??

    len
     
  9. Tulipwood

    Tulipwood Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Ahhh Len. Thank you. It IS a lady beetle larva. Just did a google search for them and I'm sure that's what it is. Hey, I'm just a newbie at this and I was told they were the good guys. Was I supposed to spray them (soap or molasses only of course) or leave them to reek havoc as they have - assuming I'd opened my eyes in the first place and seen them!!
    One of the potatoes was full of earth worms. But I didn't see anything else in there - but hey, this is the lady who didn't see a million ladybird larvae either :rolleyes:

    (This was written before your post)
    I'm beginning to think it isn't blight. In what I've read they state that it starts in the leaves with browning of the leaf and spreads down, and that it will be seen on the stem and that the stem too will rot. Taking a close look just a little while ago at the plant in question, the leaves have all been infested with that bug I posted the photo for, and the only damage on the leaves I could see is the damage they have done - no browning leaves, yellowing tips or any damage at all on the stem.

    Here's one description I found: "the first signs are generally found on the leaflets, leaf stalks or stems. They appear as brownish to purple-black lesions of varying size which expand rapidly, eventually covering the entire host plant. Each lesion has an outer purplish zone which merges into the remaining healthy and uninfected green tissue as the infection spreads. These infected areas become water soaked and soggy, and the host plant is quickly reduced to a rotting pulp."

    From that I'd say no I haven't got it. Even today, after digging it out yesterday, the plant stem is firm and green and the leaves have just the bug damage on them.

    But ... it goes on "In severe cases the tubers are reduced to a rotten mass of wet flesh, but with a minor attack on the tubers the infection will show up just as a dry rot. This rot won't soften the tissues, but will produce rusty-brown blemishes just below the surface of the skin. This can also can extend further as a variable pattern into the tuber."

    That does sound like it - one potato was a rotten mass of wet flesh, but others have a thick brownish skin over a part of their surface, and when cut the blemish is just under the skin on one, but going into the potato on another.
     
  10. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    with the lady bugs ther are good and bad ones some maybe good on one plant and bad on another, we just squish them on our early morning safaris don't ahve to get the lot just nearly the lot chuckle. yeh i'm not sure about blight but it did seem to sound like waht you said. what i have heard said is to never plant another crop of spuds in that position again. and i suppose buying certified is not an absolute guarantee. anyway with the length of time from plant to harvest it's not worth the risk using the same spot would be my best advice.

    though tomato's are supposed to be closely related not sure if spud blight can pass onto them, after all the same lady bug that loves the spuds leaves the tom's alone hey. also pumpkin blight may be something different as well??

    len
     
  11. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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  12. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Late in on this.

    The potatoes look like 'overcare'. Too much fertiliser and water which will stress the top, rot the bottom and pretty much encourage insect attack. The spots on the potatoes themselves look like classic overwatering/overfeeding.

    The photo of the larvae looks like the larvae of the 17spot beetle. The 17spot beetle looks like a 'ladybeetle' but is a serious agricultural pest.

    Here is a link to the 28spot beetle [which is known here as the 17spot beetle] https://www.greenharvest.com.au/pestcontrol/Leaf_eating_beetle_intro.html. Anyway, this insect prefers cucurbits but will at times attack other plants.

    Looking for a photo of this little beastie I did find a few photos that are worth looking at. https://images.google.com.au/images...e pest&cr=countryAU&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi


    Hope this helps.

    cheers,

    ho-hum
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    My two bobs worth is that you most surely have twenty eight spot lady beetle and perhaps planted whole potatoes instead of just the eyes and have a rot from the whole potatoes.
     
  14. Tulipwood

    Tulipwood Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Thank you ho hum and purple pear. I'd much rather have killed my potatoes with overcare or poor management then with blight!!
    The ladybirds didn't look like the picture. I wish I'd taken a photograph of them ... I'm positive they had two different coloured spots. I 'think' the two on top of their head were a different colour to the rest of the spots. It was a ladybird I'd not seen before.

    Purplepear I didn't know you shouldn't plant the whole potatoe!! I did that because I only had a small patch and plenty of potatoes, so figured why chop them up when I didn't need any more than I had. OK there's another lesson. Does one ever stop learning ... I can guess the answer, but don't want to hear it as I feel I am so far behind the pack now.

    Had a yummy meal tonight of fresh potatoes, the sweetest cherry tomatoes i've ever tasted and some olives (not home grown) cooked up in a pot with some curry paste, and eaten with some bread for dipping. Does it get better than that?

    Tulipwood
     
  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Sounds positively fabulous
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    I was feeling very smug as my potato plants were looking marvelous. But then I had a closer look this morning and I have the same larvae on mine and some leaf damage, and some bugs that do at first glance look like lady bugs but more orange and with more spots.

    There were only 2 of each so I'll keep up the morning patrols - I'll think of Len while I'm out there....

    Thanks for bringing it up as this is also my first go at potato and I can't wait to get them to harvest. Have already spirited away a few tiny new ones from under the growing plants and the promise of what is yet to come is hard to resist!
     
  17. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    i've always planted the whole seed potato, never causes any issues, have heard that cutting can if the cuts aren't rubbed with ash or something to stop mould??

    len
     
  18. Mango1

    Mango1 Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    The bad lady bugs that do this sort of work are orange with numerous black spots (I think it is about 17 spots if you want to count them). They will give your tomatos a going over also, so as Len suggested the best way to deal with them is to squish them when you see them.
    Rotation of your crops will also help to eliminate the pests. I would give the bed a good rest, with green manure, legumes, brasicas and corn cycled through before you have another shot at spuds or tomatos in the bed. You realy should aim to rotate all your crops across about a 4 year cycle, shifting from bed to bed to reduce buildup of problems. Watch for volunteer plants and weeds that may also harbour pests and disease during the rotation.
    As for the rotted spud, as the plant dies back from damage, it is not uncommon for the spuds to rot if there is too much moisture around.
    Just give it another go in a different spot and see what works for your area. Good luck :D
     
  19. lovingmygarden

    lovingmygarden Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    I have this problem here too, it is caused by the 28 spot lady beetle. They do look a bit different to regular lady beetles, they have lots more spots than normal types and they are a little bit bigger too. I check my plants daily and just squash them, look under the leaves too,that is where the larvae are usually hiding. They attack curcubits, potatoes, tomatoes and also eggplants....probably heaps of others too. If you get them early enough, you wont suffer from the larvae which seem to do the most damage.
    I hope this helps :mrgreen:
    lovingmygarden
     
  20. Tulipwood

    Tulipwood Junior Member

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    Re: Poorly potatoes

    Thank you everyone who has helped me with this problem. What a wonderful resource we have here. I'm so grateful, as a newbie to gardening, to have found you.
    Just found a website which I think I'll keep bookmarked: https://www.brisbaneinsects.com (helps that I live not too far from Brisbane).
    They even call this particular critter the '28-spotted Potato Ladybird'. Couldn't be clearer than that hey?

    Tulipwood
     

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