[permaculture] [Fwd: Re: [SANET-MG] Late Blight]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Sun Jul 26 19:37:49 EDT 2009

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Late Blight
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 23:05:57 +0100
From: John D'hondt <dhondt at EIRCOM.NET>
Reply-To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group              <SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU>, John D'hondt 
<dhondt at EIRCOM.NET>
References: <644249480.20090725221638 at gmx.net>            <C7AA41CB9D9449DDA48AD55DCD477CCC at Targadc5fefe82d> 
<FB7A6D11-09F3-4601-9375-CCBD5C3537C0 at valley.net>

Before I became a farmer I was a research biologist in which capacity I saw
people with serious pesticide poisoning. I was going to be organic no matter
what. Also in those days a metric ton of "good" potatoes could be bought
here in Ireland as animal food for about £ 40. I did not mind to loose a
complete crop under these conditions. Although it never get quite that bad.
So the first two years we had very little soil and a commercial variety of
Irish potatoes and lost most to blight.

After that we started a multi pronged attack :

1) make good soil through compost and mulch so that a varied soil life gets
a chance. Never use chemical fertilizer.
2) go for already existing more resistant potato varieties and breed for
better resistance from these. (very easy since the fruits that develop after
flowering contain hundreds of seeds that germinate near enough at 100%. So I
grew a few thousand potatoes from seed and left these in the ground over
winter to make sure anything that survived was blight resistant.
3) to increase soil resistance to blight I left blighted plant material rot
in situ and planted potatoes on top of this. I'm sure this must have
stimulated a blight eating soil organism but I was less interested in the
name of such than in it's effect.
4) the situation at the moment is that we grow a wide variety of varieties
many of them original from our seed, liberately mixed even in the row. We
have given up rotation almost completely to keep on top of blight resistant
soil (but newly planted ground this year also shows no blight and boy do we
get rain!). We have build up rather good and deep soil over the years
fertilized with sea minerals so that no deficiencies are expected.
It took a few years but it was no real problem to get completely on top of
blight. I think the real smart move was that we did the hard work when it
was possible to do so without hardship. Some time in the future peak oil
conditions may make this a good bit more difficult.

I have to admit that our area of the world is very suitable for root crops
of which many do well here (potato, occa, yam, yacon, skirret, mashua and
many others) and top fruit rather badly.

> John, what is your experience?  Have you ever needed to respond to  it, or 
> have you never needed to.
> Mike
> On Jul 26, 2009, at 5:13 PM, John D'hondt wrote:
>> You know my experience with Phytophtora infestans Douglas. I have  done 
>> almost exactly the oposite of what Wayne Seidl advocates and I  have not 
>> seen blight here in Ireland !!! in more than 15 years on  my property. 
>> With continuous potato production and without any  slash and burn or any 
>> chemical spraying whatsoever. Of course my  way is too simple and does 
>> not contribute to a GDP at all. Only  problems do that.
>> john

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