School: Curraigh (B.) (roll number 12066)

Curry, Co. Sligo
Peadar Ó Braonáin

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Growth and Spraying of Potatoes

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0170, Page 0439

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During the second week of June the farmers spray the potatoes before the blight appears. This is necessary to protect the stalks. The old method was as follows: A barrel was filed with river or rain (soft) water. In it was suspended a porous bag containing 7 lbs of Sulphate of Copper. When dissolved, lime was gradually added in liquid form. Litmus paper was used for testing the spraying material. If this paper, when dipped in the "spray" came up coloured red, then sufficient lime had not been added, and the material would burn the stalks. When the litmus paper came up blue, enough lime had been added. As there were no spraying machine [sin] in these times, a bucket and "besom" were used. A "besom" was made of several branches of heather tied together in the form of a rough brush. "Spray" was poured into the bucket and the worker sprinkled it onto the stalks with his "besom". Naturally the liquid fell on the stalks in large drops, so that the surface of the leaves as not covered evenly, while the stems of the stalk (where the blight first attacks) received none. A large proportion of the "spray" fell on the clay and on the person who was spraying. A fear bréige is next erected to frighten away the crows.

Peter Brennan