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laceyvail

I'm completely devastated

Last year I found the allium borer on three leaves of my chives. I reported it to the WV Ext Office--I may have been the first to report it, certainly the first in my county. This season I was prepared to cover my alliums--most important the garlic I've been growing for some 25 years. The information I found said April/May and Sept/Oct were the critical months. A back problem prevented my covering them until last Monday, April 8. I was far too late. The very warm March must have brought them out long before April. The friend helping me and I spent some 40 minutes examining the small planting and removing leaves (not the best thing to do for any bulb but absolutely necessary in this case.) As thorough as we tried to be, surely we missed some. And we saw the fly, both of us, several times. I suspect that this is the last year I'll ever be able to grow garlic even if this crop yields some usable bulbs.

I'm simply devastated. Not just the loss of a favorite crop, but it is simply impossible to buy good quality garlic around here. And I use a lot of garlic.

Comments (28)

  • Lars
    last month

    In the past, I have ordered garlic braids from Gilroy, but you have to order them in July. I think there are several stores in Gilroy that will ship them in July, but they only harvest once a year, and so that is when you have to order - they do run out fairly quickly.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    That's really good to know, Lars. I generally harvest in very early July, so maybe I'll have a window of opportunity.

  • plllog
    last month

    (((HUGS))))


    Is there any way you can grow them indoors?

  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    last month

    I would buy or make a metal above ground for growing with a cover out of mesh that you keep on all the time.

    I would like to learn how you grow garlic. I love garlic and it is expensive to buy and probably not near as good.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sherry - Garlic is very easy to grow. You usually plant it in the fall and harvest it once the leaves start to die in the spring with about 50% of the leaves having turned brown.

    Sorry, hope I'm not hijacking your thread.

  • Sigrid
    last month
    last modified: last month

    My experience is that something with a strong smell can deter a pest that likes a plant. Don't plant alliums for a year or two. Then plant them with something like Artemesia (wormwood). I had Iris borers, planted artemesia in the Iris planting and the borer problem declined or disappeared, depending on how much wormwood was next to the Iris. For food crops, there may be other highly aromatic plants that are more edible than wormwood. You could try mint. This is just a suggestion, I don't know that much about allium borers.

    It's worth noting that many of these pests have adult forms that fly and lay eggs. Most of the life cycle may be as larvae gobbling your plants. In some pests, the adults don't have mouths, live for long enough to mate and lay eggs. The worm form can't move, so if they are stuck in a neighborhood with a really noxious smell (wormwood), they just put up with it (ie devastate your crops regardless). It's only the next year, if you've deterred the adults from laying eggs that you might have success. Which is to say, if your alliums are already infested and you plant a lot of wormwood/mint/whatever, you will probably not see any improvement this year. You need to have the stinky stuff planted near your crop before the adults choose where to lay their eggs.

    Wormwood is not strongly aromatic or noxious to humans and plenty of pests find mint to smell awful. So, a noxious smell to a pest may be either fine or actually delightlful to humans.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    Everything I have read indicates that it's a very difficult pest to control. My vegetable garden is small, with permanent, though not raised, beds and surrounded by deer fencing. Gardening in another spot is out of the question as is turning over any section of it to an aggressive plant like either wormwood or mint, neither of which has been suggested by plant pest specialists as being effective or practical. And at 79, I've gotten too old to have the energy--or time for that matter--to experiment with an untried technique.

    A check on the garlic this morning indicated more leaves with eggs--either we missed them Monday, or the eggs hadn't matured enough for us to see them or one of the flies that lays them was trapped or has gotten under the row cover.

    For years I've used row covers successfully on cole crops--and I grow a lot of those. After last season I had already decided that I would have to eliminate onions--simply too much additional work for this old woman. Now it appears that garlic will join onions as a crop I once grew.

  • plllog
    last month

    I'm not much of a gardener, and this doesn't solve your problem, but I've been able to contain mint just by growing it in a pot. Until the snails got it.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    last month

    .. and I understand that residential-approved pesticides don't work at all on these guys. You're hosed, outside of netting.

  • kevin9408
    last month
    last modified: last month

    It's a new bug to me. It's less than a 1/8" (3mm) long so a fine mesh netting would be required, so I just checked the mesh I bought and the holes are 0.8mm X 1 mm.

    Lots of stuff will kill ALM flies. What I see is no ORGANIC method will control them but my go to chemical Permethrin will sure do the job. It's approved for Onions and garlic with a retreat interval of 7 to 10 days and perfect. Permethrin can kill up to 8 weeks but it's a stretch so every 10 days will work great. I haven't met a bug it won't kill except adult potato beetles.

    Yes, it's safe. If you spray your yard for mosquitos it or one of it's pyrethroid cousins is in it. It's in head lice and scabies treatments, It's in roach, fly and mosquito spray and the list goes on and on. People even treat camping clothing with the stuff, works great on ticks and approved even for that.

    If you buy it premixed you'll break the bank. I buy a 10% concentrate in quart containers for $20 and mix 1 oz to one gallon so a quart will last years. It's night out for Japaneses Beatles and 2 treatments is all I need to keep them off stuff for the month they're around. What I won't use Permethrin on is flowering plants, I don't want to kill pollinators.

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)
    last month

    Garlic can be easily grown in containers and a container should be easy enough to fully enclose in a row cover. Assuming you cover next year before the adults become active you should still be able to have a garlic crop, albeit a smaller one (I mean that in number of bulbs grown/harvested) than you would if growing in the ground.

    Also, I'm not sure what your views are on gardening chemicals but a systemic pesticide may be needed this year to try to control them on your current crop.

    Rodney

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    I've been an organic gardener since I started--nearly 60 years ago. Not about to go nuclear now.

  • Donald V Zone 6 north Ohio
    last month

    I am sorry to hear that. I LOVE my garlic and like you store bought is not even in the ballpark! My garlic has never had issues and I have grown over confident. I am going to research this pest soI can keep an eye out for them. Good luck!

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    I recently ordered some row covers from Gardeners Supply and the representative I spoke with said they'd had the problem for several years, so it's definitely moving. Keep an eye out for it. They're in Vermont.

  • agmss15
    last month

    A cursory look online says a spinosad product might help….


    https://www.johnnyseeds.com/search/?q=Insecticide&search-button=&lang=en_US

  • kevin9408
    last month

    I have a rule, I will NEVER eat a thing made or grown in Asia and especially China. About 70% of US garlic is imported from china now and why I started growing garlic 15 years ago, because Chinese Garlic is a nuclear toxic bomb! Suit yourself and stay organic but when your bulbs turn to mush think twice before buying powered garlic and bulbs and know the difference.

    FDA requires all roots must be removed from imported garlic, so a Chinese bulb has no roots and shaved clean. There are other ways to tell, weight, color and a sticker stating "product of china" unless it's an ingredient in another product. There is a website called garlics .com ran by by a Chinese grower trying to debunk government testing results as a lie but truth is the testing shows it tests positive for toxic chemicals, pathogens and heavy metals including: lead, arsenic, chlorine, methyl bromide, melamine, E Coli, and more.

    I'll take a bath in Permethrin before eating Garlic, or anything from Asia.

    Permethrin is a synthesized extract from the Chrysanthemum flower and called Pyrethrum. If these bother you I hope you have no pets with a tick collar or apply a flea and tick product. They Contain flumethrin which is a pyrethroid and a cousin of Permethrin.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    agmss15--could you be more specific? I see nothing at that link but various different insecticides (all extremely expensive, and ridiculously so for a very small planting in a small garden) with none stating anywhere I can find that it is effective against the allium borer.


    And no, Kevin, I have no pets with flea collars.


    I expect I will go with Lars's suggestion to order in July from Gilroy.

  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    last month

    You may have to order this year, but I would not give up. You have the row covers. Buy a raised bed . (I love Gardener's supply!) Keep it covered.

    I am sure you have read this;

    https://extension.psu.edu/preventing-allium-leafminer-in-garlic-plantings

    They talk about solarizing the soil.

    Y'all have convinced me to try garlic this fall. I have grown the green onions for years. I usually only need one or two and they cost a lot at the store for an entire bunch.

    I am kinda organic. I use chemical fertilizers, but no chemicals on anything. (Except I can't keep hubby from the grass ) I found after I quit using stuff like Seven dust or even pytherin, that the good bugs took up the slack.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    I an hoping to be able to continue to grow my perennial bunching onions--basically perennial scallions. That bed is small enough to keep covered all the time.

    Yes, solarizing will kill off the larvae they say, but I can't afford to lose 1/4 of a bed in the rotation of this small garden for a year.

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)
    last month

    This extension article does mention that using both spinosad and an insecticidal soap does help control allium leafminers. Also, for what it's worth, spinosad is a broad spectrum pesticide and does have somewhat systemic properties. In other words, it is basically a "nuclear" option.

    https://ag.umass.edu/vegetable/fact-sheets/leafminer-allium#:~:text=chemical%20controls

    Rodney

  • annie1992
    last month

    Lacey, it seems like I fight a new pest every year, keeps me on my toes, LOL.


    My garlic is growing nicely, thankfully, all 250 heads of Music. It's always something, though. Brown rot on the grapes, scab on the potatoes, tomato horn worms in droves, cut worms, coddling moths. (sigh) I also use no chemical fertilizers or "cides", but have a nice big pile of composted cow manure and my garden likes it a lot, although I do have to hoe a lot of weeds.


    The thing(s) I"ve given up growing are parsnips, rutabaga, radish, the root maggots love them but leave the carrots and beets alone. So I grow lots of carrots and beets.


    Annie


  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    Annie, I agree that garden pests have proliferated in the past few years--past 15 years or so. Another PITA is moles. Their populations seem to have exploded--I can't keep any earthworms since they're moles' favorite food.

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    last month

    I'm sorry to hear this news, laceyvail. It really stinks to have to give up on growing something that you've grown for so long and thoroughly enjoyed. I have used pyrethrin and spinosad in the past for targeted purposes, and they both work well. You might want to consider looking into those.


    I am finding this thread educational. I've never heard of the allium borer, but I looked it up and will be on the lookout for it this year. I also didn't know most garlic in the store comes from China. What about the chi-chi places like Fresh Thyme or Whole Foods that sell organic -- same story?

  • beesneeds
    last month

    How much garlic do you need? And what kind do you grow- what is your spacing pattern? I've successfully grown out garlic in 18 gallon totes several times. Taking a couple/few heads to create a bigger seed stock for out in the regular beds. Depending on what you got, you can do 8-12 cloves per tote. Use fresh fill. Cap them with a fine netting/mesh at planting. If you make your nets long for the bins, you can later in the summer put stakes in the bins and raise the nets up as the garlic gets higher.

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    last month

    I was at Kroger this morning, and their garlic was a product of USA.

  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    last month
    last modified: last month

    laceyvail 6A, WV I do use the insecticidal soaps. Safer's is the brand I buy from Lowe's.

    ETA: The garlic I buy from the grocery is from the US.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    last month

    Interesting that people are recommending specific pesticides to control allium borers (leaf miners), and quoting respectable sources. As I noted a few days ago, it has also been claimed that no residential pesticides are available that will work. See https://www.rhs.org.uk/biodiversity/allium-leaf-miner. So I guess there is some disagreement in the community. Though it is true that spinosad, for example, is banned in several states and some countries. Permethrin is also mentioned here, but that is not approved for residential use.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    Original Author
    last month

    daninthedirt, that was also my understanding. An exceedlingly difficult pest to deal with.

    Perhaps if I were younger I'd try some of the suggestions. But at nearly 80, I can't take on more garden set ups than I've already got. So, probably gilroy garlic from now on.