Hi, I'm a new small organic garlic farmer. I've found a disturbing white growth on patches of my garlic bulbs. It's a furry growth and I already have my suspicions, but I need an experienced grower's opinion before I can make a decision on what to do.
Looking at your picture I think the garlic unfortunately has white rot. I did a little reading on it this morning, and it appears there is no effective way to deal with soil that is already infected with the white rot sclerotia. However, I did read about beneficial soil bacterium like Trichoderma and Bacillus having a positive effect on white rot. Also, since white rot is transmitted by infected seed cloves and/or infected soil, a good way to get a crop of garlic is to seek certified disease free seed, and move the planting location to a new area to grow in. Hope this helps!
Kelsey, Did you notice the whitish stuff on the garlic before you planted? Or do you think it's in your soil? It may be limited to where you planted if it was on the garlic to begin with. Onions are vulnerable to it as well.
While they say there are no controls for white rot, it can't hurt to really, really ramp up compost, as in layers several inches thick. I have a lot of faith in compost, and spraying soil with an EM mix. Don't let your soil get too damp, try to dry it out where you planted this batch, expose it to the sun, mix in compost, lots of it.
Permaculture prefers to plant things scattered around, and this seems to be a good example of why that is a good idea. If all the garlic is planted in one place then the problems can go from plant to plant. If pockets of garlic are planted in various places, some of it will make it where there isn't the sclerotium in the soil. Planting with a triad of herb/flower/vegetable helps with spreading out the crops, bringing in beneficial insects, fooling the bad insects.
The white rot might not be everywhere, so try some clean, clean new garlic in a place remote from where you planted it. Bag the bad stuff, and escort your white-rot garlic off the property!
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