Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Fall Potatoes, Fig Preserves & Squash Leaves


'Nicola' potatoes Photo: Gurney Seed & Nursery Co.

Fall Potatoes

Dr. Carl, a medical doctor and avid gardener, asked about locating seed potatoes for his fall garden.

George, an Advanced Master Gardener, helped with a referral to seed and nursery company that has ‘Nicola’ potatoes. ‘Nicola” potatoes have a low glycemic index (GI), and this low GI indicates how much each food increases blood sugar.

George makes these gardening suggestions, “Beds are prepared a month in advance and covered with straw. 18 inch spacing is used with little soil disturbance on hilled rows or just covered with straw in large containers.”

Characteristics of these potatoes include, “medium-sized, well-shaped oval potatoes. A beautiful golden yellow inside and out, Nicola has a mild nutty flavor and is great for baking, boiling or roasting. Flesh is firm and holds up well in soups and salads. Low glycemic index means it is great for low-carb diets. Shows good resistance to scab and drought .”


LSU Gold Figs Photo: LSU AgCenter

Fig Preserves

DJ enjoyed a fig harvest and wanted to make fig preserves and wanted information, “I have an LSU gold fig tree. I am planning to make fig preserves. My dilemma is how to measure out this large whole fig into quarts. Thought perhaps you could ask someone at the extension office. “

AHA consulted Ms. Jennifer Duhon, Area Nutrition Agent about helping DJ with her question, “With blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and even cherries, an average of 1.5-2 pounds yields 1 quart. Not knowing the size of the figs, I think that would be the best way to calculate vs number of figs. Although I did find information per pound:

Figs by the Pound Other Equivalents

  • Fresh figs, pound 9 medium
  • Fresh figs, pound 12 small
  • Fresh figs, pound 2 1/2 cups, chopped

I hope this helps answer their question.”


A silver leaf on a squash plant. Photo: John Martel.

Squash Leaves

John saw something unusual in his vegetable garden, “Since temperatures hit 100 degrees the younger leaves on my yellow squash plants have developed a silver sheen on the top surface. It is not powdery mildew because nothing comes off when I rub the surface. I also noticed the young squash have stopped getting bigger just recently. The young squash, and there are many, are shade protected beneath the leaves. It usually takes about 3 days from the time the flower closes until it reaches harvestable size. In about a week since this silver sheen has appeared the young squash have quit growing. Can you shed any light on this?”

AHA consulted with two specialists with the AgCenter. Dr. Raj Singh, the “Plant Doctor,” shared his thoughts about the silver leaf, “The symptoms resemble silverleaf caused by whitefly feeding. Did the homeowner notice any whiteflies? The whitefly nymphs release a toxin into the plant symptoms while feeding and the symptoms appear on developing or newer leaves. If no whiteflies present, then it could be a heat related issue. Higher temperatures may activate or deactivate some enzymes resulting in these symptoms. But in this case the symptoms will be very uniform on affected plants.”

Dr. Kiki Fontenot, Vegetable Specialist, added her thoughts, “I agree with Raj, check for whiteflies. I have noticed these silver leaves on some squash too and it seems to be variety dependent. With our excess heat right now, things may be slowing down a bit. I suggest keeping the plants well-watered and fertilized. If the silver leaves start looking distorted this gardener may want to remove the entire plant, but if not keep it in. She may also want to remove the fruit from the plant, pick immature and see if new fruit grows back quickly. There is also still plenty of time to replant summer squash and zucchini plants.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits, and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337.284.5188 or

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

8/16/2022 7:36:08 PM
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