[permaculture] Growing potatoes without risk of potatoe blight.

Jamie R smartplantguy at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 17 15:09:51 EDT 2007


I have both observed wild potatoes on and around Chiloe Island in Chile and 
attempted growing them. The variety I grew was French Fingerling and it has 
turned out to be quite a resilient form. I started growing it in my parents 
garden just outside of Vancouver, BC, three years ago and it still comes 
back every spring. In fact it's become a bit weedy. I originally grew it on 
the ground using a peat/compost/manure mix, with the tubers planted whole on 
top, and straw piled on top. This way I could continuously harvest tubers 
with destroying the plants. Now that it's spread naturally, I have to dig 
for the tubers, but so far I've seen no sign of scab.

It's funny that the name we've given this variety of Potato is the "French 
Fingerling", yet, while I was on Chiloe Island, they had papas nativas for 
sale at all the tourist vendors. They were selling mixed bags of potatoes 
including round purple, crescent yellow and pink tubers as well as, low and 
behold, a variety that looks exactly like French Fingerlings. From what I've 
read, many scientist now believe that Chiloe Island is actually the home of 
original potato used in cultivation since the time of the Incas. Makes one 
think how and why we derive these names for certain plants, but anyways...

One of my objectives while I was in the area of Chiloe Island was to find 
potatoes growing wild. After many failed feild trips, days of drudging 
through mud and temperate rainforest, I finally came across a beach where 
they were growing abundantly. They grew in the areas of the beach that were 
being colonized by vegetation, and were, as such, colonizers themselves.

The most interesting thing I noticed was the soil they were growing in: it 
was composed of sand and peat-like material mixed with oceanic debris. This 
debris was a cocktail of seaweed, drift wood, fish waste, clam and oyster 
shells and chitinus material such as crab and shrimp shells. All of these 
materials probably contributed to creating a very rich and acidic soil, but 
one of them has recently come up in agricultural research as a control for 
Streptomyces spp, which includes Potato Scab. This research has discovered 
that a chemical called chitosan is produced by shrimp shells and that this 
chemical helps to bolster plant immunity. They've also found evidence that 
by composting shrimp shells, beneficial Streptomyces spp increased in 
number. These non-pathogenic fungi actually help to prevent scab, rather 
than cause it.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to test shrimp or crab waste out in 
the field, so I can't verify if these actually work in the home and/or farm 
as well as one might think they should. Perhaps other people have experience 
with this?

Here are some good abstracts on some of the research mentioned:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/u1m6253r73qq4823/
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4534965.html

James Reinert
East Vancouver, BC, Canada

>From: permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org
>Reply-To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>Subject: permaculture Digest, Vol 54, Issue 17
>Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 12:00:14 -0400
>
>Send permaculture mailing list submissions to
>	permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>
>To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
>	http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
>	permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org
>
>You can reach the person managing the list at
>	permaculture-owner at lists.ibiblio.org
>
>When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
>than "Re: Contents of permaculture digest..."
>
>
>Today's Topics:
>
>    1. Re: Looking for good examples of the use of berms and swales
>       &... (Tommy Tolson)
>    2. Growing potaoes without risk of potatoe blight.
>       (Lawrence F. London, Jr.)
>    3. Re: Time to pick up our hats? (Robyn Williamson)
>    4. Distiller's Dried Grain with Solubles Recipes (woodsjay at cox.net)
>
>
>----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>Message: 1
>Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 11:33:39 -0500
>From: Tommy Tolson <healinghawk at earthlink.net>
>Subject: Re: [permaculture] Looking for good examples of the use of
>	berms and swales &...
>To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Message-ID: <469A4C63.9050001 at earthlink.net>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>
>The object of swales is to hold water on the land as long as possible to
>allow as much to sink in as will.  Observe the land to see how the water
>runs off it, then swale in opposition to that flow.  If you swale on
>level, water sits in the swales until it soaks in or evaporates.  Frogs
>love these waterholes.  If you have to, keep them full enough to allow
>the tadpoles to mature as frogs are a sentinel species and if you have
>them, you're doing something right.  Berms of the soil brought out of
>the swales thus stay moist longer.  Properly mulched, they never dry
>out.  The secret is to keep the berms covered with a thick layer of
>mulch.  Avoid sun contact with the soil, on berms or not, except where
>there is enough water to form permanent mud.  Plant annuals in the
>decomposing layer of mulch, not in the berm soil proper.  Trees and
>berries with their more extensive root systems need to be planted in the
>berm.  Shape the berm so the tree or berry sits in a basin that holds
>water instead of letting it run off.  If annuals need support they can
>be staked or caged.  Kept moist, clay/adobe berms need no amendments.
>Calcium will help to break up the clay if you want to amend, but you're
>faced with bringing in something from off-site.  Shell flour works, and
>comes in 50-pound bags.  Broadcast it on the berm before initial
>mulching.  That's all we did, and I could stick my hands into the soil
>of adobe berms up past my wrists in the height of the dry season.
>
>Tommy Tolson
>Austin, TX
>
>
>------------------------------
>
>Message: 2
>Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 19:14:16 -0400
>From: "Lawrence F. London, Jr." <lflj at bellsouth.net>
>Subject: [permaculture] Growing potaoes without risk of potatoe
>	blight.
>To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Message-ID: <469AAA48.70202 at bellsouth.net>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
>
>
>Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
>
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] BBC NEWS | UK | England | Tyne/Wear | Researchers 
>hail organic potatoes
>Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 00:31:43 +0100
>From: John D'hondt <dhondt at EIRCOM.NET>
>To: SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU
>
> > While we're at it we might as well put together a complete list of all
> > soil-dwelling
> > growth promoting, disease preventing, nitrogen-fixing, soil health and
> > biodiversity-building microorganisms,
> > invertebrates and other organisms. Elaine has a list of 7 of the most
> > important.
> > We could use them as primary categories to build on.
> >
> > LL
>
>I am probably a great disappointment to others in my profession of 
>biologist
>but I have so far not had too much interest in species specific
>relationships in soil. We know there are at least 25.000 (maybe 40.000)
>different species of micro organism in an average spoonful of soil. The
>number of possible relationships between all these organisms is a bit too
>complex for my purpose (which was growing potatoes organically in Ireland
>without having problems with blight).
>
>My reasoning was that there was probably some organism in all that lot that
>would live on Phytophtora infestans (blight) and that would thus protect
>potato crops from this disease if only it were plentiful enough.
>To get it plentiful I grew blight prone potato varieties and let the
>diseased plant-parts rot in situ then planted more potatoes on top that I
>left in the ground over the wettest winter imaginable.
>
>As I explained before on this list (it is slightly more complex than the
>very shortened story here) I have been able to grow potatoes absolutely
>blight free for at least 15 years now. Whether my guardian angel organism 
>is
>Pisolithus tinctorius I doubt because we don't have "dog-turd-mushrooms"
>here at all.
>
>I was interested in growing healthy potatoes in the first place for my own
>family and that has been successful but to get rich out of potato blight it
>is necessary to come up with specific names so that patents can be secured.
>That I will gladly leave to someone else for I can see a few other
>priorities in my life.
>
>Wishing you every success though,
>John
>
>
>
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] BBC NEWS | UK | England | Tyne/Wear | Researchers 
>hail organic potatoes
>Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 19:12:53 -0400
>From: Lawrence F. London, Jr. <lflj at bellsouth.net>
>Organization: Venaura Farm
>To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group 
><SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
>
>
>John D'hondt wrote:
>
>  > My reasoning was that there was probably some organism in all that lot
>  > that would live on Phytophtora infestans (blight) and that would thus
>  > protect potato crops from this disease if only it were plentiful 
>enough.
>  > To get it plentiful I grew blight prone potato varieties and let the
>  > diseased plant-parts rot in situ then planted more potatoes on top that
>  > I left in the ground over the wettest winter imaginable.
>  >
>  > As I explained before on this list (it is slightly more complex than 
>the
>  > very shortened story here) I have been able to grow potatoes absolutely
>  > blight free for at least 15 years now. Whether my guardian angel
>  > organism is Pisolithus tinctorius I doubt because we don't have
>  > "dog-turd-mushrooms" here at all.
>
>Is this procedure one that you would recommend to anyone anywhere to use in 
>any climate and soil condition
>or would you only try this under certain growing conditions, or a range of 
>conditions?
>
>
>--
>Lawrence F. London, Jr.
>Venaura Farm
>lflj at bellsouth.net.net
>http://venaurafarm.blogspot.com/
>http://www.ibiblio.org/ecolandtech/market-farming
>
>
>
>------------------------------
>
>Message: 3
>Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 18:20:41 +1000
>From: Robyn Williamson <robinet at aapt.net.au>
>Subject: Re: [permaculture] Time to pick up our hats?
>To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>Message-ID: <7153B7DB-3375-11DC-861D-0030657170AA at aapt.net.au>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
>
>Right on Toby, access to cheap food keeps wages down too according to
>Barry Healy in the Australian Green Left Weekly of 14 July 2007.  Read
>the full story here:
>
>http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/717/37245
>
>Robyn Williamson
>
>On Monday, July 16, 2007, at 02:00 am,
>permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org/Toby Hemenway wrote:
>
> > Governments know that food shortages
> > are what bring governments down, and The Powers That Be will sacrifice
> > nearly every other resource--transportation, schools, health care,
> > consumer goods, you name it--before they will let food become scarce.
>
>
>------------------------------
>
>Message: 4
>Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 9:06:54 -0400
>From: <woodsjay at cox.net>
>Subject: [permaculture] Distiller's Dried Grain with Solubles Recipes
>To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Cc: Robyn Williamson <robinet at aapt.net.au>
>Message-ID: <3034840.1184591214719.JavaMail.root at eastrmwml10>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
>
>Since cheap food seems to be on a lot of people's minds right now, I though 
>I'd write about my first contact with DDGS. It has always seemed reasonable 
>to me that I would grow the perennials and let the commercial farmers grow 
>the annuals. (That is because I suck at growing things. The trees don't 
>mind. The asparagus almost cares. The rhubarb dies.)
>
>What was available to me was 50 lb sacks of DDGS based on corn. (This is 
>Omaha NE.) It is a light yellow-brown course powder with a slight 
>winey-yeasty odor. It costs $7.00 per sack at the feed store. (Yes, it was 
>expected that it will be fed to animals. There is no labelling for human 
>consumption. However, dead animals due to feed reflect badly on the store 
>as a supplier. I have assumed that the same applies to human beings.)
>
>What follows is a few things that didn't work.
>
>I boiled it to try for soup or porridge. It sits in the bottom of the pot 
>and doesn't expand or soften. It has a slightly sour and bitter taste. My 
>wife hated it. I thought it was edible. (I think most everything that 
>doesn't bite back is edible. Peas are not edible except under special 
>circumstances such as eating at a friend's place.)
>
>I added salt and then curry powder. The salt killed the bitter taste. The 
>curry powder stayed as a taste of it's own and didn't modify the flavor of 
>the DDGS.
>
>I don't recommend it in any large quantity in soups or porridge.
>
>It is a high protein foodstuff and therefore encourages working with it. It 
>is likely (for the corn version only) that much of the protein is 
>unavailable to human being. I'm trying to find out how much of the protein 
>the yeast has reworked (which would be available). By separating the powder 
>from the little gritties a reasonable estimate could be made.
>
>It should be possible to make a DDGS loaded wheat bread which is likely to 
>have the weight and consistency of lead hockey pucks.
>
>I am encouraged to try more things. Please feel free to contribute ideas on 
>the subject.
>
>
>------------------------------
>
>_______________________________________________
>permaculture mailing list
>permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>
>
>End of permaculture Digest, Vol 54, Issue 17
>********************************************

_________________________________________________________________
Windows Live Hotmail with drag and drop, you can easily move and organize 
your mail in one simple step. Get it today! 
www.newhotmail.ca?icid=WLHMENCA153




More information about the permaculture mailing list