A potato with scab may be unsightly but is perfectly safe to eat
What is Scab?
Are some varieties more prone to Scab?
Some varieties are prone to scab and some have good resistance. Varieties that are prone to scab are generally grown because they have other strengths - for example, in the case of Vitabella it has good blight resistance. It is difficult to find a variety that is good in every aspect, and if you add in other dimensions like soil type, cooking type, heat tolerance, drought tolerance, taste, suitability for storing and cold and not so cold conditions, etc, it is impossible for any variety to be perfect for every situation - that's why there are so many varieties available in general in the UK and with us in particular. Unfortunately we do not have a crystal ball and so cannot predict if the weather will mean blight or scab (or neither or both!) will be an issue.
What about scab free seed potatoes?
See our other post about an experiment with seed potatoes with scab
All our seed potato varieties have a tab with independent disease information including scab resistance. These results are from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board official testing. To see our full list of Scab Resistant varieties please see here
What can be done to prevent scab?
To control common scab, do not allow the soil to become dry during tuber development. Raise organic matter levels to improve water retention. Water the developing crop if necessary, starting two to three weeks after plants emerge and continuing for about four weeks, applying 20 litres per sq m (4 gallons per sq yd).
Remember for next year to rotate your potatoes to a new part of the garden as this can live in the soil. It might be helpful for future years if you do a quick note of what you remember in regards to when you planted and the weather this spring (and last spring if your memory is really good!) eg you can state "really dry early June", etc. Growing vegetables is a huge jigsaw and the weather plays a big part in it.
Common scab, although may look unsightly, is perfectly safe to eat. Many people will peel the affected areas and some will just boil them up and eat, if the scab is in small quantities. Leave the skin on until you are ready to eat as this helps to preserve them. It will not get any worse once harvested.
Information taken from and for more background reading, please see here:
If you would like us to confirm if you have scab, or if the issue is something else, please send us a pic. Pics here are from a customer this week with some Maris Piper with common scab (used with permission).