Certified seed potatoes have been in hot demand since we got them in the nursery last week. Being the start of winter, it is still early to be planting, but some people just can’t wait to get them in. In most areas you would go from August to February, but in sandy frost free areas they can also be sown during June and July. In cool areas you need to plant 1 month before the expected last frost – sometimes a tricky question.
This year, potato growers are being especially urged to use only certified seed potatoes to help stop the spread of the disease Potato Virus Y. This virus has already cost the potato industry many thousands of dollars in lower yields and reduced quality. Althugh this virus has been around for many years, new strains that are more aggressive are appearing. It is becoming a global problem.
Although the virus can be transmitted by aphids and possiblt thrips, the smart way to control the disease is to not only control these insects, but definately not to use infected plants for future planting stock. Infected plants can have mottling and yellowy chlorosis of foliage and the potatoes themselves can show major cracking, circular wounds or marks. It can quickly transmit through a growing district and could even affect home gardens.
Certified seed potatoes are now available at Gardenworld. They can be delivered in Melbourne for $20. For details go to our online shop.