Rust on Garlic Dilemma
Ive been growing garlic in Portland for the last 8 years and have never had a problem with rust until last year and the year before. I had a severe problem with rust this year. I always rotate my crops, I dont compost rust infected plants on site. I even started with a different variety of garlic this year (meaning I did not use any of my own seed garlic that I have been using for years). My spacing was good, my soil fertility is right. So, what is a Portland garlic loving gardener to do?
Multnomah County Oregon fruits and vegetables
Right now I don't have a good answer for you. Rust was a huge issue last year. It showed up in my own plots for the first time and there is no one within at least a mile growing garlic. The approach I took was to get rid of all the garlic leaves and stems and skins that were loose at cleaning and storage. I am also considering removing the paper covering around each clove prior to planting (and disposing of what I remove). There have been some tests thnat indicate that it doesn't spread from infected bulbs but I think there may be more to be learned about this. Some organic growers are considering dusting the cloves with sulfur before planting as a test but there is no data. I will say that good air flow around the stand is important. Wider spacing (between and within rows) in the fullest sun location you have may help. Weeding to improve air circulation may also help. Beyond that, we are stumped, for now. Chip
Chip Bubl OSU Extension Agent 503 397-3462 firstname.lastname@example.org