Finally! Something other than greens. This week marked the first garlic harvest. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my garlic (about a dozen heads grown at the community garden) had a major case of rust. Rust is a fungal disease that looks exactly like – you guessed it – rust.
Not having personally encountered rust before (another day in the garden, another disease!) I turned to my trusty friend, The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control, an incredible and thorough resource. Unfortunately, it delivered bad news. Rust, it said, often affects yield. (What?! No garlic harvest, after giving it space in my garden since last October?). The best remedy? Avoid planting members of that plant species where the rust occurred; the spores can be carried in the soil. That means no alliums in my community garden plot for for two-three years. Bummer.
This, my friends, is rust. (Actually, this was in the early stage. A week later, almost the entire crop was orange.)
My garlic wasn’t quite ready (garlic is ready to harvest when the bottom three-four leaves die back; only the bottom-most leaf was brown on mine), but I decided to chance it, rather than let the rust take over.
I’m glad I did. Here’s a shot of one of the heads – ‘Russian Red,’ I believe. It’s a respectable size and is drying nicely. I’ll just give it a week or so until the skins are dry, and then, look out! I’d better stock up on mouth wash.
Thats too bad about the rust, and about not being able to plant Alliums in your plot. One of my favorite spring flowers for sure. But yay to things other than greens! I’m still making salads over here, and loving it!
That garlic looks great. Sorry about the rust.
That actually looks pretty big to me. Good choice to harvest.
And apparently I’ve had onions taking up space in my garden for a year and a half now to no purpose – I don’t know if something ate them or what, but they seem to have completely disappeared. (I started them from seed, so they were still pretty darn tiny)
Toni @ BackyardFeast says
Oh no! I think I have this! I thought it was just the bottom of the stalks starting to die on the way to being harvested. But they’re not steadily getting orang-er, so maybe not. I’ll go take a closer look. Luckily that raised bed is a ways away from others, so if I have to rotate, I can. Thanks for the tip! And hey, you’re still harvesting garlic, so it’s not all bad. :)
The garlic does look good! So even if there is “rust” attacking the leaves, it does not affect the bulb itself?
Darn! I just snipped the last of my scapes today. And, I’ve been battling with the cold, wet all spring trying to keep my crop from rotting in the ground. I’ve pulled a few test bulbs, but they’re still not quite ready, so I wait…and I hope it will dry out to help my garlic cure as beautifully as it did last year.
The Yard Bard says
Rust is a four-letter word for a reason! The folks that previously owned my parents’ farm planted cedars on one side of the drive, and a mini apple orchard on the other. They’d never heard of cedar apple rust…