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Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

Posted by sunnibel7 Md 7 (My Page) on
Fri, May 11, 12 at 11:17

I've been growing garlic for several years and not had this problem before. The plants were beautiful in early spring, which was early and hot. Then there was a cold snap and it burned the tips of several leaves on each plant. Now about a third of the plants are rotting and when I checked the base of the healthier looking ones, they look to be having trouble too.

Could my garlic be having trouble because the winter was so warm? I have read that it doesn't do well in areas that are too warm in winter, but I don't know what form that trouble takes. I tried looking online to find a disease, but it doesn't look quite like any of the rots I could find picturs of. My soil is fast draining and we're behind on rain anyway, so I don't think it is a problem of excessive moisture. Any other ideas or should I blame this problem, too, on the crazy weather? Cheers!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

I've found that the garlic that has rotted for me has been solely the hardnecks which were in poorly drained soil, so the moisture must have rotted them down.

The artichoke softneck species almost never rot or have any fungal diseases. I guess you must be planting hardnecks eh? One solution may be to simply grow them a bit earlier so that the roots can take hold as quick as possible, and growing a variety of species should help as some types don't rot.


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RE: Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

Steve, thanks for your input! But, no, I'm growing two types of soft necks as well as two types of hardnecks. One of the softnecks is the type that seems most affected, new garlic fromTerritorial, but they are all looking sad now. One type I have been propegating for 5-6 years now. Cheers.


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RE: Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

I was just checking on my garlic and noticed that there were 4 plants (out of about 50) that were stunted or dried out or animal damaged and decided to dig those and see how big the bulbs were getting. All the roots coming from bulb and outer layer of bulb was all yellow and rotten. The plants just slipped right out of the ground with no digging because any roots anchoring them in and the outside of bulb were rotten.
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> Anyone know what causes this? I saw no sign of any sort of grub or worm. On 2 of them, I did see a millipede, one quite small, the other a little smaller than 1/2 the size of a tent caterpillar. How about slugs, do they eat underground, or just leaves and stuff on surface?
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> Could it be just a bacterial thing and the bugs are just bystanders?
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> This is the 2nd yr my garlic hasn't done well (not over yet though!). Last year, the bulbs were simply small, didn't grow big. I think I didn't water enough and the soil was depleted, so I enriched with compost in fall when I planted.
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>
> .... Sarah
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Update ; I just pulled 6 more rotten ones today ! Anyone know what the problem may be and if it's too late to save them?!

P.S. I live in Dane Co, Wisconsin and am growing grocery store bought cloves, which have done well in the past. I have also in the past grown garden store (Jung) cloves.


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RE: Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

Do they have white cottony mold on them? Because that would probably be the dreaded Allium white rot, which is the fungus Sclerotium cepivorum. The resting stage is a little black scale-like structure called a sclerotium that forms on the garlic skins and is shed into the soil, where it can remain for many years. Onions or garlic growing nearby cause the sclerotia to grow hyphae into the roots and stem, eventually killing or stunting the plant.

I've been battling this for a couple years, and due to carelessness in the past have contaminated some of my garden beds and at least one season's compost pile. This year I lost about half my softnecks (which were probably already infected when I planted them) plus about 10% of the rest of my Alliums. Only the Egyptian walking onions seem unaffected.

For this year I can only try to control the spread, by pulling plants as soon as they show any signs, by keeping them out of the compost (I plan to burn all my Allium trimmings), and by meticulously cleaning and inspecting my seed stock. Next spring I'm going to try a minced garlic slurry on all beds that previously grew Alliums, plus wherever I plan to plant Alliums in fall 2013. Supposedly this wakes up the dormant sclerotia which then starve to death due to lack of a host. I suppose that means I'll have to dig out all the wild garlic as well.

Good luck, and I hope this isn't it, but it sounds painfully familiar.

Here is a link that might be useful: White Rot Info from BC Organic Seeds


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RE: Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

After more reading, I think what I was seeing was multiple rots, which was part of my trouble IDing the issue. The question remains, where did they come from? 1/2 were stock that I saved from last year (no problems then) and half were from fresh stock from Territorial, presumably clean. All I can think is that the wacky weather weakened the garlics and that's why they present a multiplicity of fungus while the onions, which went out when things were more stable, show 0 problems.

I have since pulled all garlics, sorted them into 3 groups of usability and cleaned them quite well before starting curing. I may need to start with fresh stock, but at least I will be able to get some storage out of some of them. For what it is worth, pulling them a little early and removing the outer (and most infected) two layers off, then giving them a saltwater bath has resulted in many heads that look as clean any from prevIous years. If I remember, I'll try to report back on long-term storage results.


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RE: Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

i will be harvesting a good bit of my garlic crop tomorrow, monday, iam in zone 5, southern new hampshire, not sure what has caused my rot problem either, it was new organically raised planting stock last fall, i left the mulch on my garlic plants which i dont think i will do next year i will be pulling it off once the pants are up and established it may have kept the plants too wet..Who knows, eh?


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RE: Garlic rotting in ground, blame winter?

Sunnibel, I'm having a lackluster allium year because of the secondary effects of two hailstorms in the spring. The wounds from the hail set the stage for an assortment of leafspots including purple blotch. The problem weakened the garlic and pushed early harvest, but now that the bulbs are curing they seem okay.


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