Episode 345. Checking for blight.

In today's podcast, I've received an alert about blight, so I thought I would give my tomatoes and potatoes a check-over. I also have the latest from the plots.

A website called Blightwatch sends me emails when the weather conditions are favourable for blight to attack my plants. I received one of these emails and this lead me to check over my plants.

What is blight well I discuss that in today's podcast.

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Episode 345 Transcript

Hello and welcome to episode 345 of the veg grower podcast. My names Richard and I am on a mission to grow as much food as I can in my allotment and modern victory garden. Coming today I shall be checking my tomatoes for blight after receiving an alert. But firstly lets find out what I have been up to over the last week.

Diary

Well a brief few days returning to work has taken a toll on the gardens in both a negative and a positive way and for me its a case of returning back to a routine in order to maintain the gardens. We will get there of course. Now Sunday morning I received an email from blightwatch warning me that the weather conditions have created the ideal conditions for the possibility of blight on my tomatoes of potatoes. So I thought I would inspect my tomatoes and just make sure that we don’t have any blight just yet.

I’m out in the modern victory and just checking over my tomatoes and potatoes making sure we have no signs of a particularly nasty fungal disease called late blight. Generally here in the UK we only get late blight early blight being more troublesome in other parts of the world. The trouble with blight is it spreads rapidly right throughout the whole plant and can wipe out that whole plant including the tomatoes or potatoes. It of course is responsible for the infamous Irish potato famine from 1845 to 1849.

What I am looking for on these plants is any brown lesions on the leaves which fortunately it doesn't look like I have any on these plants here. I have a few more more on the patio that we shall make out way too to check those now. I often see people of Facebook groups sharing photos of lesions on the tomato and potato leaves asking if its blight. Quiet often its not the case of it being blight but it just shows how well known this problem is.

Now if I had see any signs of brown marks on my plants I would simply remove the infected leaves and hope it hasn’t spread to other parts of the plants. If it infects the stem then we will lose the plant. At that point its time to remove the plant. Rescue any tomatoes that are not infected or in the case of potatoes leave the potatoes in the ground for a couple of weeks before harvesting again making sure to only save the uninfected crops.

Well the rest of my plants seem to be OK to today but I will keep a close eye on them. Its pretty common to get these infections unfortunately there's no treatment available for blight anymore we used to be able to use a copper bordeux mixture which was a treatment that unfortunately is now banned in the UK. Instead we have to find ways of living with the risk of blight which is why I like to grow blight resistant tomatoes such as crimson crush or mountain magic and blight resistant potatoes such as the sarpos variety. I will admit the flavour on these isn't as good but as the years go buy and more varieties come out the flavour does get better.

I also remove lower leaves on these plants which minimises the risk of the plant being in contact with the ground and improves airflow.

The other thing I do is that I have signed up to a website called blightwatch.co.uk This website is supplied by the met office and sends out alerts when the Hutton criteria is recorded. Now the Hutton criteria has replaced what used to be the smith periods due to advances in our understanding of blights. The Hutton criteria is when we have 2 consecutive days with the minimum temperature being 10c and at least 6 hours of relative humidity being at 90 percent so with the rain and warm weather we had last week its no surprise that this alert was activated. Its a free service and well worth signing up too if you intend to grow these 2 crops.

Well I hope that has been of some use to you its certainly a battle with blight but that’s why we take action when we can. Now if you got any tips you would like to share or you just want to chat then email me Richard@theveggrowerpodcast.co.uk Visit the website at theveggrowerpodcast.co.uk and finally you can find me on social media just search for the veg grower podcast so give me a like or follow on there. Thank you so much for listening today. Please take care and Ill speak to you next time.

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