Kitchen Garden

BYE-BYE BLIGHT

Blight is more than just bothersome – it’s downright infuriating! We’ve all been there: you’ve patiently chitted your seed potatoes, dutifully planted them on a fine April morning, then nurtured them to full leafy splendour… only for the foliage to collapse, seemingly overnight.

Potato blight has a long history of ravaging our favourite vegetable. In Ireland a series of crop failures caused by blight led to the Great Famine of the 1840s, when an estimated one million people died and a further million emigrated. Perhaps the reason behind its ruthless efficiency is the ease with which the spores of this fungal disease spread – carried on the wind from field to field.

There’s no mistaking those tell-tale first signs of blight. Small dark spots or lesions appear on the leaves, often with a fine, white, powdery growth around the edges. Serious infestations will spread to engulf the foliage, causing stems to collapse and leaves to look almost burnt. Infected tubers will develop

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