Welsh Potato Breeding Initiative – Do You want to Help?

I am sure we can all remember the ill-judged furore that was kicked up last year by members of the Potato Marketing Board, when they sought to blame home gardeners for the increased incidence of late blight in potatoes.  I came across this article this morning, and thought some of you might like to join me in having a small part in this Welsh research.  It  has potential benefits for everyone who grows  potatoes, and it might also stop all that whining coming from the commercial growers.

I have one reservation about the Sarpo potatoes so far – and this concerns the cooking of them, so please comment if you have perfected a failsafe way of cooking them, and I’ll give them another try.


20 Responses

  1. Beanstew says:

    To open this file, right click on it, and then select Open File. (Don’t know why it is being blooming awkward?)

  2. dandlyon says:

    Have tried Sarpo varieties in the past not a potato I enjoyed for taste,will take my chance with potato blight,last year spraying had a little effect but the rain washed the spray off as fast as you put it on

    • Beanstew says:

      I am hoping they will also be able to improve the taste and texture Tony – which must be a consideration in plant breeding too. Its a few years since I tried them myself for the same reason – but that blight resistance is of increasing importance with climate warming and increased rainfall. I’m sure they will end up with something worth growing.

      • dandlyon says:

        The Sarpo variety have been trialing in this country since the Hungarian uprising,plus the years they were trialed in Hungary,the family fled to England and with them their trial potatoes.The trust is looking to raise £100,000 a year to keep trials going.They do fall to blight if the attack is severe and prolong but they resist longer than any other variety.The potato councils concern is the blight virus may mutate again and the dense foliage of the Sarpo would make them vunerable.They haven’t moved far in 56 years so we may be in for a long wait

        • Beanstew says:

          I thought blight was classified as a fungus and its spores spread by wind, and carried down onto foliage by rain.

          • Walt says:

            Potato Blight is indeed a fungus. It is continuously evolving and last year’s strain, ‘ Blue 13 A ‘, was as bad as that which resulted in the famine in the Emerald Isle in the 19th century. To my knowledge the Sarpo varieties did not succumb to it.

          • dandlyon says:

            My mistake there you are quite right it is a fungus brain was way ahead of fingers,looking through my pictures I visited another allotment site last year and have a shot of blight infected sarpo potatoes

  3. Walt says:

    I remember that well BS, it was absolute nonsense and the PMB let themselves down badly. I have grown just Sarpo Mira and Sarpo Axona. We found Mira to be more floury than Axona but we always steam our spuds so they don’t break up. OH did cook some Axona in a saucepan as a trial and they were fine. We also found they were better for the keeping, say after Xmas. Can’t get the link to work but if it is funding they need then I’m in.

  4. If u drench with a seaweed solution, on a reasonably regular basis, blight will not cause you any problems, in spuds or tomatoes xx

    • Beanstew says:

      I’ve never heard that tip before Andy – have you done this often? And were the varieties you applied it to prone to blight? Really interesting idea.

    • I have used this technique since my last job, envolving organic plant growth trials/sales. I grow tomatoes and have grown potatoes including:
      estima, desiree, anya and some wilja.

      You can find information on such seaweed drenches from various sources on the net, including chase organics and the like xx

  5. Walt says:

    Really ? I very much doubt it.

  6. PS, when I first worked with the organic methods, having worked traditional situations before, I doubted this idea.
    I was proven wrong and have never returned to old inorganic treatments xx

  7. Walt says:

    Ok Andy. I shall give it a go, could be interesting.

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