Unfortunately it appears that several plot holders have had crops affected by what looks to be contamination of manure by herbicide. This can affect both the foliage and crop- particularly of potatoes, tomatoes, beans and peas. The leaves may appear “cupped” or fern like and shrivelled.
Our main manure supplier does not use herbicides but does buy in hay etc from other sources who may have used them (or had an adjoining neighbour use them). The herbicides were banned by the Government but unfortunately are now permitted again.
Current advice is to not use the crops (which may be stunted or deformed in any case). The beds affected may be safe to use again next season, the recommended length of time differs between sources.
You can carry out a simple test by potting up a tomato seedling or young plant in a mixture of compost and well shredded manure. If the foliage becomes affected then your manure should not be used, but left to rot down.
There is a lot of information on the subject on the Internet; type in “manure contamination” or “aminopyralid” as keywords. There is little that can be done unfortunately; it appears to be a widespread problem across the country – the Government should not have allowed the use of these herbicides which are now affecting the food chain.
- A real who-dung-it as keen gardeners kick up a stink (Scotsman)
- Aminopyralid Herbicide Residue in Manure Killing Crops (Allotment.or.uk)
- What to do if you have Aminopyralid Contaminated Manure (Allotment.or.uk)
- Aminopyralid (Wikipedia)
If you do a test, as above, please can you let us know of the outcome so that we can establish the extent of the problem.
The Council has been notified.
Incidentally, there is another crop disease called “Leaf curl virus” which affects potatoes and tomatoes, is a virus spread by aphids, and can look fairly similar (leaves curl upwards becoming hard and brittle). You can find illustrations of both problems on the Internet, to compare.