Potato plant leaves turning yellow

Posted by on Aug 19, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A trial participant from southern Vancouver Island contacted us about yellowing on the leaves of her potatoes:

Russet potato showing yellowing on leaves


“Some of my plants are not looking so good.  I wonder if you can tell by looking at the photos what the problem might be.   I wonder if I have not been watering them deeply enough and therefore there is a drought problem around the roots.”

Richard replies:

There is not much unusual about your potatoes.

Yellowing is widespread in mine I think because of early drought and potatoes basically moving in to the late maturity stage because of some warm temperatures a few weeks ago.

Cariboo potato showing yellowing on leaves.


I think I see some flea beetle damage (little shot holes in the leaves). Also very typical and much to be done, I think they do not have a huge impact on yield.

The touch of brown on the leaf spots may indicate blight, not surprising because it has been so wet lately. I have some German yellow potatoes that show this much more severely. You can cut off the blight bits, but avoid having leaves wet (hard to do with this rain). I think I will harvest my German Yellows to avoid having the blight spread.  You can probably still give deep watering and bulk up the tubers, However water below the leaf crown.


Information on Leaf Yellowing in Potatoes

Yellowing of the leaves in potato plants is a natural indication that the plants are reaching maturity.  By this stage, the tubers are close to their full size, but will continue to add density and cure as the leaves die back.

If they occur early in the season, yellow leaves may be telling a different story.

A lack of nitrogen may cause the leaf to become pale – rather anemic looking.  Amending the soil by adding some nitrogen may allow the potatoes to recover.

Fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt can also cause leaf yellowing, starting with older, lower leaves.  Both are made worse by stress from too much or too little rainfall.  Both diseases are mainly soil-borne, and may be moved to new areas from infected seed potatoes or from soil.  Strict crop rotation is important to prevent build-up of pathogens in the soil.  If you suspect these and other diseases, don’t save seed potatoes from this crop.

Early and late blight diseases cause dark spots on leaves which may be surrounded by yellow ‘haloes’.


Ozette-Nootka in Metchosin

Posted by on Nov 14, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We love to hear about your potato growing experiences, good and bad!

Today, we received an update from Scott Harris, who farms at the Lohbrunner Community Farm Co-op in Langford, BC.

Starting with 2 potatoes, in two years, Scott Harris harvests 120 pounds!

Richard Hebda gave a climate change talk for Metchosin Foundation a year and a half ago and I got two small Ozette Nootka potatoes from him.

Last year I planted them and got 6 pounds from two hills. I planted the 6 pounds and got 120 pounds. I kept about 15 pounds for seed potatoes and sold the rest to a local farm who sold them at a market and because of the story behind them was selling them for $4 pound.

Should probably have kept more for seed but I will be planting them next year. I plant mostly Sieglinde potatoes, I like growing potatoes and they do well in our flood plain Community Farm. Grew close to 3000 pounds of potatoes with the majority being Sieglinde.


Ozette-Nootka potatoes harvested in Metchosin



Trial by Fire

Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We love to receive reports from our far-flung growers. In 2017, British Columbia experienced one if its worst fire seasons ever. Growers Phil and Carla Burton report on their experience near Smithers, BC.

By Phil Burton

A quick update on the heritage potato plantings up here at Smithers.

We planted them in our cabin garden (borderline in the Sub Boreal Spruce zone, 54.72506 N x 127.17514 W, 680 m elev.) in good (imported) loamy soil on April 29th, 2017 — the earliest I’ve ever tried planting/sowing anything up here.

Seed potatoes were split to plant 12-14 hills of each variety, always with at least 2 apparently viable eyes. The varieties included Likely, Ozette-Nootka, Mrs. Moehrle’s Yellow, and Irish Cobbler; and I think you included Kennebec and Russet. No other (modern) varieties were planted this year — we have a pretty small garden patch.

It was a cool spring, not much happening until late June, early July, when temperatures started getting hot. We watered the garden intermittently in May and June, a little more regularly in July, but then we were gone all of August and September during the peak of the drought and fire season.

So, between the slow start and the droughty summer, it was pretty much the poorest potato crop I’d ever harvested. By the time we were back home October 9th, it appeared that most plants had withered and died back sometime in the interim. The greatest numbers of survivors (4 or 5 as I recall), largest plants, and greatest yield was shown by the Ozette-Nootka, but even then, with no tubers larger than a tennis ball, and most the size of a ping pong ball.

So Ozette-Nootka wins the trial by fire and neglect, but not in shining colors. We ate the harvest over the next month, so I hope no-one was counting on another set of seed potatoes from us.

Caribe Surprise

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Caribe Surprise


by Richard Hebda
November 2017


For several years I have grown the early maturing Caribe variety for nicely formed early potatoes. Of the typical potato-shaped varieties these provide reliable early yields. Their blotchy pale purple to pink skin and typical blunt flattened form makes them attractive. In general, they have average yields, about half a kilogram per plant (with limited watering), though I have not systematically included them in our comparative heritage variety trials.

Caribe tuber size and shape

Caribe tubers showing reddish-pink mottling on tan.

This year after digging a couple of hills and enjoying them in June, I forgot about Caribe as other varieties came on stream. Its tops dried by late July and I suspected that the yield would be mediocre and that the wireworms would get at them because of the early maturity of the tubers. Was I ever mistaken!

I finally dug up the remaining tubers in the third week of November as I prepared the bed for the following year. To my surprise I discovered closely-clustered, uniform, high-quality tubers. Most tubers were of medium to large size with few little nubbins. The skin was smooth clean and unmarked. The colour was less intense than in the late spring and the pale brown undertone showed through more strongly. And there were no wire worms – none at all among the 50 + tubers I dug up.

I thought however that having stayed in the ground so long they might have an odd texture when cooked, perhaps mealy. I was most pleasantly surprised again. I used my standard preparation technique of roasting in an open pan with a bit of olive oil. I cut them into wedges and left the skin on. Instead of turning into a mealy crumble like many bakers do, I had wonderfully firm somewhat waxy spud chunks. When you bit into them they remained firm. The texture was smooth and solid, not crumbly at all. At first, my wife and I thought they needed more roasting. However, the tubers were cooked through and there was no hard, uncooked middle. Close examination showed that the texture was somewhat crumbly but only slightly.

Caribe potato, sliced in half, showing creamy white flesh.

Caribe potato, sliced in half, showing creamy white flesh.

Caribe, when mature is firm and perhaps slightly waxy, not mushy. It is an excellent candidate for potato salads, a feature not at all mentioned in the Agriculture Canada description. Presumably Caribe has been grown for early harvest and not left in the ground until the fall.

So what a surprise! I seem to have discovered a potato that produces well, yields high-quality tubers and if left in the ground may resist wireworms and result in an excellent texture suitable for potato salads.
Give it a try and see what you think. And you know what else, it was bred in Canada in the 1960’s
Caribe is a winner!!

Check out more details at CFIA Ag Canada’a website:


Caribe – pdf


Super Sieglinde

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Super Sieglinde

Richard J. Hebda July 2016

I have always enjoyed the versatile yellow-fleshed Sieglinde. This year I tried an experiment with tubers overwintered in the ground. The winter was mild in Saanich, BC and tubers began to sprout in February. I dug them out, rinsed them clean, and replanted whole in well-drained raised beds, covered in horticultural fleece. The results were astounding!!

Sieglinde tubers harvested in Saanich, BC

2.6 kg yield from a single Sieglinde plant, Saanich 2016

The spring continued the winter-warm trend and the tubers grew into robust plants. New tubers began setting by late April on long stolons and we began removing young delicious potatoes by mid May, with out digging the plants. I continued light watering in the well-drained friable soil and plants began to yellow in June. At the end of the month I started harvesting and to my surprise found masses of fully formed and sized smooth-skinned beauties. Even though spaced 25 cm apart, a typical plant yielded 2.6 kg of excellent quality potatoes. In a 2.5 by 1 m (8 x 3.5 foot) space I estimate the yield was 20-25 kg! These yields match the best in any of our project trials of heritage potato varieties.

The bed was prepared with organic debris at 25 cm (10”) depth including small branches, and the overlying soil was lightly fertilized with moderately-aged horse manure. As might be expected in rich soil there was a trace of scabbing on a few tubers.

As a bonus, under the mild climate of Vancouver Island Sieglinde overwinters well in the soil and remains edible even in February.

Lessons learned:

Plant as early as you dare, the tubers will time their own emergence. Cover with row cloth to protect against late winter ground frosts. Ensure good drainage but do not be afraid to include organic matter even a bit of manure for this variety. Tubers take a bit of time to form but they size up quickly. Sieglinde is super potato !!

Canadian Heritage Potato Varieties – Is your favourite on the list?

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

Every region of Canada has different potatoes, each with its own unique history.  Many of these have been maintained in home gardens for decades and shared between neighbours. To conserve this genetic diversity, we need to share what we know.

In Canada, the Potato Gene Resources Repository in Fredericton, NB preserves heritage varieties, to maintain a broad genetic base for future food security.  They have more than 140 varieties which are available to growers, breeders and researchers.

List of Potato Cultivars available from the Potato Gene Resources Repository

Name Origin
Abnaki  New Brunswick
AC Belmont  New Brunswick
AC Blue Pride  Newfoundland
AC Brador  New Brunswick
AC Chaleur  New Brunswick
AC Domino  Newfoundland
AC Novachip  New Brunswick
AC Ouelle  New Brunswick
AC Pocat  New Brunswick
AC Red Island  Newfoundland
AC Sunbury  New Brunswick
Acadia Russet  New Brunswick
All Red  Alberta
Angelina Mahoney’s Blue  Ontario
Anson  Newfoundland
Austrian Crescent  Ontario
Avon  New Brunswick
Banana  New Brunswick
Batoche  New Brunswick
Bauer Grun Rote Auge  Ontario
Beauty of Hebron  New Brunswick
Belleisle  New Brunswick
Black Mignion/The Cup  New Brunswick
Bliss Triumph  New Brunswick
Blue Mac  Newfoundland
Blue Shetland  Ontario
Brigus  Newfoundland
British Columbia Blue  Ontario
Cain’s Irish Rocks  Ontario
Calico  Ontario
Candy Cane  Ontario
Canso  New Brunswick
Canus  New Brunswick
Caribe  New Brunswick
Cariboo  New Brunswick
Carlton  New Brunswick
Cherokee  Alberta
Chinook  New Brunswick
Columbia Russet  New Brunswick
Conestoga  New Brunswick
Congo  Ontario
Corne de Mouton  Ontario
Cow Horn  Alberta
Crotte d’Ours  Ontario
Cupids  Newfoundland
Donna  New Brunswick
Dorita  New Brunswick
Earlaine  New Brunswick
Early Rose  New Brunswick
Elmer’s Blue  Ontario
Epicure  New Brunswick
Eramosa  New Brunswick
Fingerling  Ontario
Fortyfold  Ontario
Fundy  New Brunswick
Garnet Chili  New Brunswick
German Butterball  Alberta
Gold Coin  New Brunswick
Grand Falls  New Brunswick
Green Mountain  New Brunswick
Haida  Ontario
Hindenberg  New Brunswick
Houma  New Brunswick
Hunter  New Brunswick
Huron  New Brunswick
Irish Cobbler  Alberta
Jemseg  New Brunswick
Jogeva Yellow Estonian  Ontario
Keswick  New Brunswick
Kifli  Ontario
La Veine Rose  Ontario
Lenape  New Brunswick
Libertas  New Brunswick
LRC 4373-5b  New Brunswick
LRC-373-5  New Brunswick
Lumpers  Ontario
MacIntosh Black  Ontario
Manota  New Brunswick
Marc Warshaw’s Quebec  Ontario
Matsuyama  Ontario
McIntyre Blue  New Brunswick
Mirton Pearl  New Brunswick
Moursaka  New Brunswick
Mrs. Moehrle’s Yellow Fleshed  Ontario
Myatt’s Ashleaf  Ontario
Nipigon  New Brunswick
Niska  New Brunswick
Northern White  Ontario
Nova Scotia Blue  Ontario
OAC Royal Gold  New Brunswick
OAC Ruby Gold  New Brunswick
OAC Temagami  New Brunswick
Pink Fir Apple  Ontario
Pink Pearl  New Brunswick
Purple Chief  New Brunswick
Purple Viking  Alberta
Rambling Rose  Ontario
Raritan  New Brunswick
Red Acadian  Alberta
Red Dutch  Alberta
Red Gold  New Brunswick
Red Warba  New Brunswick
Richter’s Jubel  New Brunswick
Rideau  New Brunswick
River John Blue  New Brunswick
Rose Gold  New Brunswick
Royal Kidney  Ontario
Ruby Pulsiver’s Blue Noser  Ontario
Russet Burbank  New Brunswick
Sable  New Brunswick
Saginaw Gold  New Brunswick
Sharon’s Blue  Ontario
Shepody  New Brunswick
Siberian  Ontario
Simcoe  New Brunswick
Six Weeks  Saskatchewan
Skerry Blue  Ontario
Slovenian Crescent  Ontario
Straight Banana  Ontario
Tobique  New Brunswick
Trent  New Brunswick
Up-To-Date  New Brunswick
Urgenta  New Brunswick
USDA 41956  New Brunswick
USDA X96-56  New Brunswick
White Rose  New Brunswick
White Rural New Yorker  New Brunswick
Yam  Ontario
Yellow Fin  New Brunswick
York  New Brunswick
Yukon Gold  New Brunswick








Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Just a test to see if this is working.