Possible problems with potatoes

Last week we mentioned blight in potatoes, but this week we thought we’d talk about a few other common potato problems and pests that you may experience here in the UK.

  1. Scab
    This bacteria-driven disease causes “scabby” rough patches on the skin of potato tubers and often occurs in hot, dry summers. It can be avoided by watering regularly and thoroughly. It’s not a major problem and you can scrape or peel the tubers before cooking to enjoy your crop anyway.
  2. Black leg
    If you see stems turning black on your potatoes then it is likely to be black leg, a bacterial disease that strikes during damp weather. It’s easily confused with blight as the leaves start to turn yellow as well. Look for leaf curling and lack of brown spots to distinguish it from blight.
  3. Slugs
    Yep, sadly slugs will have a good old munch through your potatoes without you even realising they’ve done it until you dig them up! Try to keep on top of slugs by setting beer traps etc, and if you have a slug-infested garden then dig the potatoes up as soon as they are ready rather than leaving them in the ground.

Other problems that are less common include dry rot and pink rot, and other pests that may do damage include cutworm, eelworm and wireworm.