Mold on seed garlic -- can it be salvaged?

charleskozSeptember 23, 2011

Hi all,

Okay I think I did a stupid thing. :/ I sorted my garlic into heads based on size, then also separated out the heads that were damaged. I divided the damaged heads into cloves, reserving the larger ones to replant next year, while setting aside the others to use.

I thought the cloves would keep a month or so until planting, but I'm now starting to see blue penicillium mold on some of them, mostly right at the bottom end where you plant them.


1. Can I still plant these? I'd guess the plants won't grow well.

2. Is it safe to use the other cloves that were in the box but don't seem mold-infected yet, or should I assume none of this is safe to plant?

3. Any way to kill the mold while preserving the viability of the cloves? Maybe washing them in something or using an organic dusting agent (sulfur?)



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I would not use the ones with mold and I'd soak all cloves before planting; I use rubbing alcohol for a minute or two myself, even when there is no evidence of mold. I just like to kill any possible mold spores - a mold infection can wipe out an entire crop.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 3:44PM
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There is nothing wrong with planting them. They will either grow, or rot and become fertilizer for your other plants.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 12:12AM
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I strongly disagree. Mold in the soil can spread so easily sine the long root networks inevitably come into contact or close enough for mold spores to cross over. Mold infections are BAD news. If a clove is soft or has visible mold growing on it - I toss it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 10:20AM
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But the types of molds which infect garden plants are really different from the types that grow on things in your kitchen. If the garlic is in storage it's probably a kitchen type mold.

As far as I know, mold spores are always present on everything. That's why growing mushrooms, for example requires the medium be sterilized and even then it doesn't always get everything.. Doesn't pretty much anything get moldy in the compost? I've never seen that continue to live uncovered in the garden or in garden soil when the compost is spread among plants.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 11:01PM
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Toss it, burn it, don't even think about putting in compost pile. Agree with garlic fiend. Don't want to risk infecting your entire garlic bed. People a whole lot more experienced than me suggest the same!!!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 10:36PM
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