Monty Don shares the job to do ‘immediately’ if you spot blight – ‘it can be saved’

Monty Don shares the job to do ‘immediately’ if you spot blight – ‘it can be saved’


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Most common in damp and wet weather, blight can be a problem gardeners face during the summer months. Monty Don shared blight advice for gardeners in his recent blog post, which explained the immediate job gardeners must do if they want to save their crop. Monty wrote: “One of my yearly rituals is to dig first early potatoes on July 8, my birthday.

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“The harvest varies hugely depending on when I planted them and the subsequent weather, but tradition demands I lift enough for a celebratory meal.

“I now only grow first earlies because the risk of blight is so great.”

Early potatoes are so-called because they are the earliest to crop, in June and July.

Second earlies take a few more weeks to mature, and they are ready to harvest from the end of July.

Late season potatoes, known as main crop, take 16 to 22 weeks to mature and can be planted from mid to late April.

However, blight, which is a disease caused by a fungus-like organism, is very common throughout the summer months.

This is because it thrives in warm, wet weather.

Monty added: “Potato blight is a fungal disease that rots first then haulms and then, as it is washed into the soil by rain, the tubers making them unstoppable if not inedible.

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“The fungi develop very fast and when the temperature is high and the air is humid for 23 hours.

“These conditions are becoming increasingly common in July.

“The crop can be saved if the foliage is removed immediately and the tell-tale chocolate coloured circular areas of the leaves are noticed.

“They quickly spread and collapse.”

After removing all the foliage, Monty said to place this in the compost, if you have one.

He said the fungi does not survive the competing process.

The gardening expert continued: “Make sure that there is a good soil covering over the tubers.

“Then, wait for a dry day and harvest the crop.

“First and second early varieties are much less likely to be affected because they mature faster and are ready for harvesting earlier in the season.”

The same pathogen also affected tomatoes.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) explained that blight in the UK is often confused with the symptoms caused by magnesium deficiency.

This is caused by a lack of nutrient content, which can affect the leaves of various different plants.

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