Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Solanaceae Woes

I just realized I did something not too smart.  Last year my bell pepper bed did not do well.  The plants wilted and produced very few, pathetic peppers.  I figured it was a bacterial wilt.  Fast forward to this spring.  I rotated my crops and planted the peppers in the bed that had previously grown root crops and some lettuce.

Then for the fatal mistake- I planted the previous pepper bed with potatoes!  I'm not sure what I was thinking.  I am aware that potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes are all Solanaceae.  Now my potatoes are wilting and dying.

I need a giant sign on this bed to remind me no Solanaceae!  After reading about the different wilts, I think I have fusarium or verticillium wilt.  Both of these are caused by a fungus and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anything I can do to save the potatoes at this point. 

They recommend no Solanaceae in the infected area for 4 - 6 years!  I sure hope I can remember. Also, planting mustard as a cover crop is suppose to help.  Mustard has anti-fungal properties and can help kill the fungal culprits.

Hopefully I'll get a few potatoes this year.  I've never tried a fall crop, but this may be the year to try.

Lesson learned!


  1. A fall crop is a great idea! I hope you do try planting a fall crop. I would be interested in how they do!

  2. Oh how sad. Good luck with your fall potatoes.

  3. We love growing our own potatoes but they can be a challenge to find enough room to rotate their bed. We're settling for growing them in containers, but the yield seems much less consistent...

  4. How old are your potato plants? Is it possible they are dying back because they've finished cropping? i sometimes get surprised by how quick the process can be - some varieties only take about 3-4 months before they die back completely. If it is wilt though I feel for you - such a pain!

    1. I'm hoping that might be the case, but they've only been in the ground for about 2 1/2 months. However, it has been an exceptionally warm spring so maybe that sped them up. Some of the plants still look fine, so I don't want to dig yet. For now it's waiting and hoping!

  5. Oh no! how awful :-( I do hope you'll try for a fall crop! Good luck!