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Gareth Austin on potato blight

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Gareth Austin Gareth Austin | 09:15 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

Gareth Austin, gardening expert with BBC Radio Foyle, answers your questions about growing veg. Send Gareth a question.

Allison from Stirling asks: My potatoes have suffered from potato blight, although I did get a fairly good crop. Is it safe to sow salad leaves or some winter veg in this soil?

Answer: Hey Allison, the dreaded blight... it's a major problem for many gardeners. The secret with potato blight is to prevent it rather than to seek cure. Quick tips:

  1. If sowing in ridges, face them narrow end onto the prevailing wind.
  2. Work in plenty of sulphate of potash or log ash when planting.
  3. Choose varieties which are blight resistant (look out for 'Orla')
  4. Only use certified seed.
  5. Never water the foliage.
  6. Apply an organic control such as Bordeaux mix regularly from mid-July onwards at fortnightly intervals.

Or be like me and be lazy and just grow 'early' varieties. These are typically harvested before blight is about so you save on a lot of work. In your case, after harvesting you can plant really any other crops as long as there not potatoes - so winter cabbage, salads, and so on are all okay. However, carrots and parsnips will do very well in this soil so I'd plant them.

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