This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Potato ‘Defender’ Beats Late Blight

Potato 'Defender'

‘Defender’ is a recently released potato cultivar, that while being bred specifically for the commercial grower, could become a big name both in the vegetable garden and kitchen. This potato has held the attention of United States Agricultural Services potato breeders and their university colleagues for more than a decade. These scientists were making sure, in both outdoor and laboratory tests, that this promising potato would not only be ideal for processing into perfect fries, but also would resist attack by Phytophthora infestans, the organism that causes Late Blight, one of the worst diseases of potatoes world-wide.

Scientists scrutinised the potato's performance in fields in California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Washington and elsewhere. French-fry processors also evaluated the potato. It was eventually released under the name ‘Defender’. Today this cultivar remains the only commercial potato in the United States to produce leaves and tubers that usually survive Late Blight. The natural resistance of ‘Defender’ potato plants allows growers and gardeners to use either no pesticides, or reduced amounts, to control Late Blight. In turn, this characteristic makes the cultivar ideal for both conventional and organic cultivation. ‘Defender’ produces high yields of long, white-skin potatoes.

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Happy Gardening



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