Q. Can I use regular table potatoes for my small market garden? I keep hearing that I should use certified potatoes, but is there a real difference?
A. Although one potato may seem just like another on the surface, there are very good reasons to buy certified seed potatoes, especially if you're growing on any scale. Potatoes fall prey to various diseases, among them common scab, black scurf, silver scurf, late blight and viruses like bacterial ring rot. These diseases can spread slowly or quickly through a garden. Diseases can be carried by aphids as well, which will increase the spread. And once you have disease established on your farm, it can be nearly impossible to eradicate. This is one thing for a family garden, a much bigger issue for a commercial enterprise, especially for one hoping to share or sell seed potato as part of their business plan. Certified stock has been rigorously tested for diseases that are impossible to check for when planting out store-bought or neighbourhood potatoes. It's worth the investment to bring only the best stock onto your land.
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