Botrytis is Suspected

gardenunusual(5b)July 1, 2012

Of course I have been in my garlic bed at least three times a day waiting to harvest. This is my second year growing it, first time with other varieties.

I had prepared my patch pretty well with lots of organic matter and such. On one side I planted seed from the Garlic Store, the other side was from trade and my own garden, mostly rounds and bulbils. Haven't watered the patch since the spring. Mother Nature did give me some long patches of rain right when it started to warm up.

Needless to say, the side I planted seed from the Garlic Store is having odd symptoms. In the past couple of months, the tips on the top are beginning to brown. The leaves look streaked. Most recently random ones are flopping over. Some have developed large bulbs, others puny. I thought maybe because some are softnecks. But I'll go out and a new one will have just flopped.

The varieties I got from TGS are :

Red Janice

Shantung Purple


Inchelium Red

Corsican Red- harvested the rest by today



Krandasger Red

Chesnok Red

Georgia Crystal

Spanish Roja

Today I was perusing the Garlic Seed Foundation website and looked at their diseases page, and voila I found Botrytis Porri. From what I've been reading about it says it can happen during storage or in the field with long periods of damp weather followed by warm.

Seems obvious I can't replant this garlic. Even on the other side where it's not showing. I am good about rotating my crops, but now I can't plant anywhere near where this has gone on. I really wanted to share this seed and now I am really bummed out. I did keep at least one scape on each variety to save the bulbils. Is it possible the plants will die before the bulbils are mature? Should I harvest the bulbs early?

Does anyone here have experience with this and suggestions? Gah, my heart is broken!

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The plants are looking much better today. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. I'm going to remove the mulch and hope for the best.

I harvested Polish White. It looks pretty good.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

A few years back I had some Botrytis symptoms and was concerned about saving and selling seed garlic. I sent a few of the worst looking bulbs to the Oregon State University where they offer testing for a small fee.
The test came back negative for Botrytis but positive for a semi-rare mildew which they advised I not worry much about as it wouldn't transfer to the next planting. They were right and the amount I payed for the testing was well worth it.
You might look around for a similar lab nearby that can help you positively ID the problem.

As I found, it's really hard to confirm fungal issues just by using the internet. If I had not gotten the test done, I probably would have believed it was Botrytis and would have abandoned selling and planting hundreds of pounds of seed garlic i've been saving and planting for many years.

Bob from 'Gourmet Garlic Gardens' has a great page about cleaning garlic bulbs before planting, to reduce potential pathogens. It's easy to do, and uses just warm water and vodka.

Hope this helps a bit and I hope your garlic issue is not as bad as you might think.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 7:33PM
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Will send them out to be tested. Most are looking pretty good at the moment. Many thanks, madroneb.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 8:51PM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

I was just reading up on diseases yesterday.

Although I have not yet experienced any, three years - knocking on wood - seems like it's bound to occur, since my current growing space does not allow for rotation.

Prior to planting, gourmetgarlicgardens recommended soaking the cloves in water for 16-18 hours and then soaking in alcohol for a few minutes.

Last year, I did soak a few in alcohol since I thought I had spotted a grey mold on the cloves. I had no idea, until yesterday, that this could ruin my whole garden!!

Anyway, the alcohol soaked cloves did fine this year. I did not lose an single clove, and my harvest notes show a few decent sized bulbs.

I read that working Brassica into the soil will help combat the issues.

Once I figure out what a "bushel" is, I'll be munching up cabbage etc and wrestling the rototiller one more time!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:25AM
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These messages are originating in the month of July, which is about the time that garlic is dying back anyway - time for harvest. Of course the tops are turning brown and streaked - that's what happens around this time of year. I eat the big fully developed ones, and keep the smaller or round ones for planting in October. I also replant all the bulbils so that I have garlic growing for 2 or 3 years down the road. Usually here in Virginia, my garlic has all died back by July 1st, so I am harvesting at the end of June and early July.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:55AM
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This spring a hailstorm created numerous injuries in my multiplying onions. At least three opportunistic fungal diseases had a party in the bruised tissues, and then the purple blotch brigade moved to some of my bulb onions and garlic. The garlic made a decent crop that looks good now that it's cured, but I'm planning to start over with fresh planting stock next year anyway. What's good enough for eating ain't always good enough for planting. I'm glad I'm not a commercial garlic seed grower.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

That really sucks about the hail damage and the issues that followed.
Different areas are dramatically much more prone to disease than others. When I lived in Southern Oregon, which is much drier than the North, I grew contract garlic for two organic seed distributers. I never saw a drop of disease in 7 years there. Now that i'm in the North, I have rust every year along with a few other molds, mildews etc.
I've really started to appreciate soaking the cloves in vodka and really good rotation.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:22AM
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It really is a gamble being a gardener. Year to year there is always something new to deal with.

I've brought in my samples last week, here's to crossing my fingers. I had a row of Music develop large rounds with little cloves on the sides of them. These were planted on the other side of the garden. Looking at the umbel, I am waiting to harvest one, yet it's flowering and not producing bulbils. My guess is I planted a different cultivar, like Elephant, which, I did not order last year. That or the large cloves I planted reverted back somehow. Ah, the mysteries of garlic. Keeps me coming back for more :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 5:18PM
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I am so happy, I finally received my report back from the university. They didn't find any soil or bulb diseases; it was from from having a drought.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Glad to hear it!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:19AM
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