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Old August 1, 2019   #1
bower
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Default garlic plants with all different heights

The scapes are off, so I'm into the final three weeks or so before harvest of my main crop porcelains. I was very happy with their progress this spring in spite of the wet and wild winter without mulch and the cold and wet spring and summer up until recently. There was one plant that I pulled some time ago - it had a normal sized stem to start with then turned thin and spindly and losing its leaves. I found a white maggot with a black head on the roots, and quickly disposed of the lot. The others seemed fine and they still do look healthy - but once the scapes came out it became really obvious that they are all different heights - many of them are much shorter than the standard height. The short plants are scattered evenly around on all three sides of the bed and throughout as far as I can tell. The same is not true in my back garlic bed which also came up almost two weeks later. I wondered if anyone has seen such a thing, and knew about the cause? I don't know if bulb size will be affected, but for sure I will check all their heights and size of bulb when harvest comes.
I took a pic and marked the tops of cut scapes by getting in close - really hard to pick individuals out, but I believe I have marked the front row correctly just to show how much variation in height. There are three different porcelain varieties in this one bed, and all appear affected in the same way.
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Old August 1, 2019   #2
GrowingCoastal
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Did some b'y bring you some maggoty fish to bury under your garlic? Are you Lizer?
For where you live, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
I do hope your garlic is alright.
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Old August 1, 2019   #3
bower
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Lizer it is TBH I wished afterwards I'd taken a pic of the darn thing. I looked up onion maggots online but they are described as very small things while this was pretty huge - I'd say an inch long maggot. Could be larvae of a beetle of some kind if not a big honkin fly. My friend tells me she has never seen onion maggots on the crop here. There are sometimes benefits to a miserable climate. So I'm hoping they really don't thrive on the fish not them.
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Old August 11, 2019   #4
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This evening I pulled nine Music from one corner of the bed, which included one of the short plants and others of various heights. I laid them out in order of height - smallest bulb is from the extra short plant on the far right in the picture. However the less extreme height variations don't seem to be especially correlated with bulb size - the stem thickness is a better indicator.

The small bulb is splitting open and pink. I lifted two more of the short/stunted plants and they are pink as shown in the pic, into the interior wrappers, and also small.

The pink color and splitting wrappers is a problem I have seen before and associated with wet weather or overwatering - as happened to a friend of mine last year. I have not been able to find anything like this on the internet so not sure what causes it, other than the wet conditions. It seems that the short/stunted plants were affected by the wet weather early on, and the "pinks" were severe enough to stunt them and produce a smaller bulb. A few larger bulbs were also affected by similar damage, but it did not stunt the plant, so perhaps it affected them later.

Anyway, the long story short is that short plants are indeed a sign of something wrong.
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Old August 11, 2019   #5
greenthumbomaha
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Growing garlic is like gambling it seems. I had a few really weird shaped split bulbs, and it was a wet spring. All the bulbs of a given variety seemed to be the same height. I'm not sure what type split most (marble purple stripe?) but some were porcelian.


Please keep us posted as you harvest.



I'm going to rotate half my garlic next year just in case ....



- Lisa
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Old August 12, 2019   #6
PhilaGardener
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I've had terrible years for garlic - generally coinciding with extremely rainy seasons. One year I lost my entire crop when I didn't get it out of the ground soon enough.



Elephant garlic (a leek) seems more tolerant of such conditions in my raised beds.
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Old August 12, 2019   #7
bower
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It's a good thing gardeners are gamblers. I had enough trouble with wireworms here, that about 20% of bulbs have some damaged cloves and not suitable for long keepers, every year.

Zipcode says the pink/splitting bulbs occur in Germany as well, and is discussed on some sites/videos which google isn't showing me! Excess N during vegetative phase may be the cause - and I guess this could agree with excess rain making N soluble at once instead of slow release.


I have had one (normal sized) pink/split bulb like this in a past year, which I cured or partially cured separately from the others in fear it was a microbial thing that could spread. The bulb actually cured okay and inside the clove wrappers the garlic wasn't damaged. The pink color seemed to be produced by the garlic itself as a reaction to conditions. So at worst the undamaged cloves can be used early or dried for garlic powder.
Pink color on the outside can be fusarium too, which isn't good. And I need to check those deep holes too, and make sure there's nobody home!
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Old September 9, 2019   #8
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Hello bower, last year I had some diseased plants with similar blotches on the inner skin and when I peeled back the skins, they had a sour smell and it was watery between the layers. The newest leaves in the centre of the plant had died off and were yellow. I was told that it was soft rot with a secondary infection Erwinia rhapontinici (which creates a pink tinge). It had been a very wet spring.
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Old September 9, 2019   #9
bower
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Meganp, thanks for sharing that. It's good to be reminded that even though these colors can be produced by the garlic pigments (which react with amino acids, so high N and soluble ferts in excess rain could explain it) it is also true that there are many bacteria and fungi that can also produce the same or similar colors. So it is just not worth risking the use of these bulbs for seed, in case there is any micro-organism in on the party.



I've originally thought that the fungal disease called "pink root" could be the cause, but it turned out to be tropical and requiring conditions we just don't have here. But that doesn't mean we don't have something else capable of doing the damage, which I would not want to encourage by planting cloves that were affected. I have about 17 of the larger porcelains that were affected, and some looked good enough after curing to use for seed, but it will be far better to just eat them.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
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Just to update about those pink-affected bulbs - I've been eating them, and they're fine for eating but one thing that is remarkable, I'm finding cloves with greenish tips that look to be ready to sprout.

So this confirms that keeping them separate and eating them up quickly is the thing to do. This is not even two months from harvest, and they won't last much longer!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #11
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Can you slice and dehydrate them before they sprout? I did that and froze the garlic chips so that I can whiz up a batch of garlic powder when I run low. Worked just fine. And much better garlic powder than what I can buy in the store. I do keep the jar of powder in the refrigerator's freezer in case it wants to clump up in the cabinet. I don't know that it would but I just put it in the freezer to keep it at its freshest.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #12
bower
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GoDawgs, yeah! Making garlic powder is a great way to deal with garlic that won't keep any longer. It doesn't take long in the dehydrator and so much better than store bought - no comparison!
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