What are the Best Potato Varieties for Blight Resistance?

Is the quality of your potatoes declining before you can collect them for harvest? It’s a widespread problem—specifically, the challenge of potato blight, which greatly affects a large number of potato farmers. Potato blight is caused by Phytophthora Infestans and it can cause significant damage to everyone affiliated with potato farming. On a personal note, I find it difficult to manage potato blight since its quick propagation doesn’t often allow for early intervention (yes, that’s a pun).

There are a few potato types that are resistant to blight by nature. Most purchasers are concerned about how the blight-resistant produce will taste in various cuisines and stores. Each blight-resistant variety has its own set of advantages.

The most common types with this attribute include Cara and Setanta, my two favorite varieties.

But the best way to avoid the disappointment of a rotten potato harvest is to choose potato varieties with blight-resistant qualities. Read on, and I’ll show you the best blight-resistant potato varieties and how you should plant them for maximum resistance. These varieties are resistant to blight, but that is not all—how the plant is handled during planting also forms a crucial base for blight resistance.

picture of white potatoes

I will also add a few tips on identifying potato blight early and measures you can take to keep your tubers safe from blight.

Are There Potato Blight-Resistant Varieties?

Yes, potato varieties in the market offer resistance to potato blight. I compiled a simplified list of five potato variations that are resistant to blight and still provide great taste.

Cara

picture of cara potatoes

First on the list is my personal favorite, Cara. This potato variety offers resistant quality but is the best option for a mean mashed potato dish. It is also a great variety to use to make baked potatoes.

Setanta

picture of setanta potatoes

The red-skinned main crop potato variety that can survive wet conditions without a scratch is second on the list. Potato blight does not stand a chance against Setanta as it has the highest tolerance. I love to use my Setanta variety to make jackets, roast, and chips dishes. I mainly prefer this variety because it is easy to grow and tastes excellent.

Nicola

picture of Nicola potatoes

This potato variety is colored yellow and usually has an oval shape. Most of my friends love this variety because of its high-yielding capability. Who doesn’t like a bountiful blight-free harvest? The harvest also stores better than other potato varieties. Better storage outcomes make the variety that much easier to transport for sale. Because Nicola potatoes have a waxy feel, they are great for salads.

Acoustic

picture of acoustic potatoes

This potato variety is a favorite for gardeners and commercial farmers. I prefer using this variety when I want the best blight-free yield organically. Acoustic varieties are a breeze to farm because they require minimum effort and no additional chemicals to control blight.

Sarpo Mira

picture of sarpo mira potatoes

This blight-resistant potato variety grows well in many soils and offers excellent slug resistance. The Potato has a reddish hue and usually assumes an oval shape. I love this variety because it grows brilliant foliage that chokes out pesky weeds before they become problematic.

Unpacking The Blight-Resistant Seed Potatoes

How I Grow My Blight-Resistant Potatoes Varieties

Once I have my seed potatoes from the store, I place them in trays. An egg box or a wooden tray works well too. I make sure to position them in the sun to get things rolling. If I’m planting before spring, I choose a well-ventilated frost-free area to place the trays.

If you give your blight-resistant seed potatoes the best environment from the beginning, they grow faster and healthier, reducing the chances of getting potato blight. Pre-sprouting seed potatoes is a crucial part of the planting process for the best results.

How I Plant My Blight-Resistant Potatoes

To prepare my soil, I make sure that I rotate the crops each planting season to reduce the chances of potato blight spores affecting my potatoes. I introduced potato feed earlier and dug a 10cm deep trench for the blight-resistant sprouts.

Once I place the sprouts in the soil, I cover the base with the soil. I keep adding the soil at the bottom as the sprouts get bigger so the potatoes near the surface do not turn green or get exposed to blight conditions.

Harvesting My Blight-Resistant Potatoes

The type of blight-resistant variety that I’ve planted determines when I get to lift the harvest. Early potato varieties are best harvested when the flowers begin to open. At this point, the tuber is about the size of a large egg. Maincrop blight-resistant varieties such as Cara and Setanta should be left in for two more weeks after the leaves and stems have waned.

When I have a busy schedule and can’t harvest the potatoes on time, I cut the stems just above the soil level, then gather them as soon as possible. Cutting the branches over the soil also helps reduces the chances of potato blight, attempting your potatoes.

What happens after pulling the Potato out of the ground?

Once I’ve pulled my blight-free potatoes from the soil, I spread them on the ground for a few hours for the skins to cure. Skin curing is letting the potatoes dry off for better storage. Once the skins are adequately cured, I store my potatoes in paper or Hessian Sacks because they are breathable and let moisture out.

Keeping potatoes in plastic bags creates the perfect conditions for potato blight to affect your harvest. After packing the potatoes, you can ship them or store them in a well-ventilated room for consumption.

How Can You Identify the Blight in Your Potatoes?

When I first started farming, I struggled to identify potato blight on my potato crop. When I noticed something was off, my crop would be ravaged by the rot and decay caused by potato blight. I did not know that potato blight spores could survive in the soil and infect my next batch of crops. I soon learned how to identify the infection early on.

The first sign of potato blight infection is dark brown patches that appear on the leaves and spread quickly. The entire leaf will rot in a day or two, and the disease will infect the stems. If enough of the leaves are infected, the plant will lose the ability to make food for the tubers, causing stunted growth. If the infected area comes into contact with running water, the potato blight spores will flow toward the tubers.

Once the tubers are infected, you will notice dark recessed areas on the surface. The rot will rapidly progress inside, leaving behind a brown rot that eventually devours the entire tuber, leaving behind a wet, smelly soft mush. You might save some potato tubers, but their fate is sealed, and they will probably rot later in storage.

Tips On Preventing and Controlling Potato Blight

Potato blight can ruin an entire harvest which is very disappointing. Apart from planting a suitable blight-resistant potato variety, you can take a few more steps to protect your crop. I’ve compiled a short list of activities and measures that I find incredibly effective when dealing with potato blight.

Get the Best Quality Potato Variety.

I always get my seed potatoes from a trusted certified distributor. It is possible to get hoodwinked into buying counterfeit potato varieties that are not blight resistant. If it is your first time purchasing potato seeds, research beforehand to know the kind of product you want. If a supplier has a bad reputation for selling crops that do not do well, then take that as a red flag and buy from elsewhere.

Plant the Early Potato Variety

You should invest in early varieties if it is implanting potatoes your first-time plays. Potato variety takes a shorter time in the soil and harvesting before potato blight strikes. Harvesting your crop early is the best way to reduce the chances of infection, considering that you will likely make a few mistakes as a newbie.

Cover Your Bases

Increasing the soil at the base of the plant as the crop grows reduces the chances of blight infection. The extra layer of soil slows the spreading of the spores from reaching the tuber beneath the soil. Sometimes I like to mulch the crops using a straw to give the crops better protection. For the best effect, make the mulch as thick as reasonably possible.

When and How to Water the Crop

When watering my plants, I try not to splash water on the leaves, aiming only at the base of the plant. Speaking of watering, always remember to water your tomato plants more often in warmer weather. I try and water my plants early in the morning, so I have a great shot at not wetting the foliage, which is a direct catalyst for spreading potato blight.

What Do You Do If You Spot Potato Blight?

If you identify signs of infection on your crop, the best cause of action is to cut off the affected part and dispose of it, preferably by burning it, so it does not infect other plants. It would be best if you always kept a close eye on your crop so you can spot potato blight as soon as it appears on the leaves.

Avoid Washing Potatoes Meant to Be Stored.

A word of caution: potatoes that go into storage should never be washed. Washing the crop increases the chances of rapidly spreading potato blight infection in healthy tubers. Always keep an eye on stored potatoes and throw out potatoes that show signs of infection.

FAQs on What are the Best Potato Varieties for Blight Resistance?

What are the best disease-resistant potatoes?
The ‘Blue’ Sarpo is known for its outstanding resistance to late blight of potato tubers and superior disease resistance in general. Blue Danube has a high dry matter concentration, making it ideal for roasting, chipping, and baking.

What are the symptoms of late blight of potatoes?
Potato blackish/brown lesions identify late blight on leaves and stem that appear water-soaked or have chlorotic margins at first but quickly expand and necrotize the entire leaf.

Do potatoes carry disease?
At least 75 diseases and nonparasitic illnesses affect the potato plant, which usually causes output reductions in potato-growing areas in the northeastern United States. Disease inoculum can be present in potato seed tubers, as potatoes are a vegetatively propagated crop.

What causes potatoes to rot in the middle?
A hollow heart, a brown or sugar center, changes when growing conditions change abruptly. It’s usually due to a lack of water, which causes slower potato growth and stress, followed by abundant water.

Is there a cure for potato blight?
If your plants are infested with potato blight, there is no remedy. Cut off all growth above the soil level and burn it immediately. This will limit the infection in your soil and the chance of spreading potato blight to your nearby farms.

Conclusion on what potato varieties are blight resistant

Potato blight can infect an entire crop in a matter of days. Potato blight spores are incredibly easy to transfer, but you do not need to worry about this if you have planted the right potato variety. Under the right conditions, potato blight-resistant varieties guarantee a perfectly healthy potato harvest this harvesting season.

Do not forget to follow the proper farming procedures when attending to your crop to avoid creating conducive conditions for potato blight. If you follow these guidelines, I am confident you will have the desired harvest.

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