Potato's looking sickly

Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:48 pm

This past week I have noticed that my potato stalks are looking rather sickly, they look like they are dying from a drought but I water them regularly. I have dusted a few times for those darm beatles. I have noticed that the Japenease beatles are gone but there are hundreds of midgets all through the garden. When I walk up and brush the plants I can see tons of them flying away. Any ideas as to what they may be? They are white in color but very small.

Thanks Dave

Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:30 pm

Are they ready to dig up?

Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:07 pm

Potatoes do not handle hot weather well, plus it takes about 3 hours for an oscillating sprinkler to put down as much water as you get form an inch of rain.

Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:23 am

Dirt Devil-

You're in one of the best places in the world to get free advice on potato disease. Try the State of Maine Extension Service. They publish a newsletter on diseases you can expect during the summer- keyed to the weather and actual observations of various infestations- http://www.umaine.edu/umext/potatoprogram/ Good Luck! Nearly time for some buttered 'taters in any case!

Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:36 am


I don't think you have diseased potato's. THere has been next to no warnings of PVYN so that is a blessing. However, EJ is right, taters don't do well in very dry conditions.. and it takes a lot of water. But.. most of those bugs will get killed off with the King Potato Powder.. it is essentially Sevin if I remember right. I usually dust my taters at least 2 or 3 times.

If the stalks are dying back, it is time to start harvesting those plants. You can dig em up.. even the little ones I use for soups and stuff.. Really good. Just wash em and toss em in the pot..

Got any pics?? That would help.

And yup, Rusty is right, your extension office should be able to help you out.. also the NB Potato Board I think it is has links to potato health etc.....

Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:09 am


I don't think that they are ready, I have already taken some out of the ends of the rows and some taters are the size of a kids fist and the rest are the size of a cherry tomatoe.

I will dig up a couple of the ones that are dying and check what they have grown. Also I will take some pics.

Another thing that gets me is that they have not blossomed yet. about three weeks back I had some huge stocks and they were going straight up. Now just a tangled mess.

I will take some pics so that you can see what I am talking about.

also is there any kind of tater food like mirical grown?

Thanks Dave

Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:20 pm

Here are some pics of the taters. After some talking to others I am thinking that they are just getting ready to be picked. Now Dad seams to remember that the stalks all died off before he dug them but can't remember that far back. These are Green Mountain and are supposed to be early taters??? I am not sure since this is my first year as a real "farmer".

Any other ideas would be very welcome as I don't want to lose them.

THanks Dave

PS I was informed that they did blossom about two to three weeks back, memery loss :shock: :D

One of the garden

One of the good stalks

One of the bad stalks

And one of the produce from a bad stalk

Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:23 pm

The plant tops will definitely die off when they are ready to dig. It appears that this is the case with yours. When the leaves are off and the stems are dead - dig away!

Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:25 pm

Sweet that is music to my ears Bigdog. Now about that tater plow you have this would be a great way to demo it :D :shock: 8)

If we were only closer.


Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:22 am

couple of nice tators there!!!Kevin doing pretty good as a first year 'farmer'

Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:20 am

Thanks Kevin

But what can I say other then it must run in the family :shock: 8) :D :P


Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:25 am


Them is still very healthy taters with a fair bit of growing to do. Let em be for a bit. We usually harvest after 90% of the stalks are dying off.. that way the taters are usually larger.. However, do a few test picks first. Take the brownest stalks, dig em up and see what you got. For dinner over the next week or so, go on out to the garden pick up a plant or two to check (dinner is a side benefit) and monitor that way. This is how I learned to tell when to pick and not to pick. My Father-in-law taught me that...

Must be ok.. cause NB, PEI are the two of the largest potato producers in the world -- bar none.. and two of the largest companies call NB home -- McCain and Cavendish (Irving). I think the only place that comes close is Idaho and then Maine?? well at least outside the Ukraine and nobody really knows how much taters they grow there..

BTW.. that is one very nice looking tater patch.. Very, very healthy plants. Doing well young grasshopper :!: :D

Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:26 am

Dirtdevil, looks pretty good to me! Wish we had some that looked that good down here in GA but it is so dry that everything is dying, even young okra plants are just turning brown and dying.

For a first year farmer, as you say you are, looks like you're on the right track :!: . Pete

Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:38 am

Checking out the photos, I can't see much wrong with what you have there-- just need a little hot water and some butter for total success!

Seriously, your plants look pretty good, and if you have some that look good right next to others that have started to struggle, I agree that it's most likely the plants simply feeling their end and not some disease or pest. I'm sure you, like the others of us in northern New England, have already had some cold nights. Just time to begin the harvest.

One observation is that your soil appears somewhat heavy, which I have too. I never get much size on potatoes, but they taste good!

Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:09 pm

Dirt Devil, the potatoes at my work looked worse than that a few weeks back, and we they never water them, on account their a ways away from the farm, and there's about 1-2 acres of them... we still dig them weeks after the stalks have died, and I'v never seen a rotten tater, besides the seed tater. I think your taters look great, and tastey :lol: