Garlic/allium family fungus on the west coast
There is an increasing prevalence of a fungal disease on the west coast, from California right on up to Vancouver Island. This disease is for all crops in the Allium family. Friends on the Island who grow organic garlic for sale at farmers markets reported losing one third of their crop to this fungus last year. They have reduced seeding for this year by 75% and have had to create new beds in case the fungus was in the soil on the old beds. They also report that other small farmers have stopped growing garlic altogether as they cannot afford the monetary risk that can arise from crop losses. This is sure to result in an increase in prices for (already expensive) local organic garlic, so if you are not already growing your own, it might be worth considering trying it. I have had great success with garlic in my own small garden, seeding enough for ongoing planting and consumption. No sign of the fungus yet, but something I will watch for.
The article below is informative re the fungus and how to deal with it:
Thanks for the link and insight. Good to know some of the issues we might be facing here in the West. It does give me pause to think about our last onion crop that seemed to have a high amount of moldy under wrapper. I had chalked it up to how we dried and stored them but maybe it was a fungus issue. Hopefully this year will be better..
The link was helpful. I knew there was a problem garlic pathogen but didn't have any details.
I will be observant this spring as my crop comes up and not take any chances with seed garlic. Hmmm…. Maybe buying onion sets is a bad idea too. Sounds like once you get the fungus, you have a real mess for a long time.
I'm still eating garlic and onions that we grew last summer. Even as just a beginner with the Alliums I can second that they are a very rewarding crop. They are beautiful plants. I love watching the onion bulbs fill out just under the soil line and of course garlic scapes are delightful critters. Scape pesto – yum! I don't have a root cellar yet, so it's great that Alliums store easily as well.