Last night, my sister contacted me about seed potatoes. She had put her order in at Veseys Seed on Prince Edward Island and received notice that seed potatoes were unavailable.
I checked Veseys’ website but did not find any notice about a disease outbreak. However, all varieties of potatoes are labelled as “Not Available for 2022” and “Out of Stock”.
I found several news articles about PEI potatoes unable to be shipped to the United States, but I am unsure if this is the reason they are not leaving the island for Canadian destinations. The article Canada Halts Exports of Prince Edward Island Potatoes on Modern Farmer states this, “After cases of potato wart fungus were found on two PEI farms, Canada has put a stop to potato exports into the US.”
Many gardeners in Nova Scotia order seed potatoes from Veseys. Others buy them at local garden centres. The problem is, many of these garden centres get their seed potatoes from PEI. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both grow a large amount of potatoes, but I’m unsure of how much they dedicate to gardeners as seed potatoes.
This may mean a seed potato shortage for home gardeners.
Potatoes from one small patch (October 2021)
I grew about 100 pounds of potatoes last year and this year, I planned to grow 150 pounds. That’s not going to happen if I can’t get seed potatoes. I kept a small number, about 10 pounds, of potatoes from last year’s harvest to plant in May, but that won’t be enough.
Once again, I am reminded of how fragile our food system is. If it’s not growing in my backyard, there are no guarantees I’ll have it.
It’s time to device a new plan for my potato garden.