Friday, December 18, 2009

Garlic Rust

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There has been an outbreak of Garlic Rust in Victoria. I can not give you much further information to supply you at this stage but either way I think this is bad news. If you are growing any alliums – vegetable or ornamental – the you will need to have them inspected through the growing season.” (Email) from Robert Chin Nursery Industry Development officer NGIV, 18 November 2009.
I don’t know any more about Garlic Rust than you do, but I do know that an intensive inspection program will have an impact on the availability of garlic and onion plants at least in the short term. Not because there will be widespread rust infections but because the cost and logistics of DPI inspection will prevent producers growing and distributing plants.
I don’t know where this will lead yet but I’ll do my best to keep you up to date. Here is a good technical summary of the disease and controls and an interesting gardeners’ forum. (By the way, is Google trying to tell me something with all the fat fighting ads that come up on garden related sites?)
If you are growing onions or garlic the standard cultural practices for preventing fungal diseases apply: grow in a full sun position, water only as required and ensure your plants are well fed to minimise stress – balance the availability of Nitrogen and Potassium and go easy on the Phosphorus.

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