The Q&A Archives: Slimy Potatoes

Question: When I dug my potatoes this fall,(Yukon Gold and Red Lasoda) some of them soon after harvest started oozing white slimy goo without being apparently damaged at all. Some of the ones I dug up had already oozed out the insides and were just a shell. What could cause this?

Answer: If your potato plants appeared healthy all season, then the symptoms you describe are those of bacterial soft rot, caused by a bacteria called Erwinia. It's difficult to tell which of the remaining tubers might be infected because the bacteria can enter through wounds, injuries or even through natural openings (lenticels) in the skin. Check each potato for injuries or wounds and discard those that seem suspect. Also, potatoes that have suffered from late blight (the infamous Irish Potato Famine blight) often turn to slime, too. If your plants blackened and died before their time, blight is probably the culprit.<br><br>In either case, plant your potatoes in a different area of the garden next year.

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