Final Report for FNE06-586
Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE06-586.
The problems that prompted the original decision for the grant, may have been generated by a series of issues. A couple of unusual growing conditions in New England, may have put unusual disease pressure on many growers, who may have under estimated the attention to details that a crop, like garlic, demands. Through poor harvesting, resulting in damaged cloves, which subsequently rotted, which may have been exacerbated by poor post-harvest storage. The list of points at which the crop could have been compromised is quite lengthy.
It is also important to start with a good reputable seed producer. It has come to the attention of quite a few growers, that some of the larger, well-know seed producers have had, to their own admission, as series of problems over the last three years. I believe, too may growers accepted garlic seed from some of these growers, and made the mistake of planting it rather than sending it back. They relied on the seed producers reputation, rather than common sense. All the participants agreed the seed treatment is an insurance policy for treating good quality seed. If one inspects your seed pieces and finds a consistent level of disease or an inconsistent level of quality, send it back or don't plant it.
As a group, our biggest take away lesson, was that the diseases that we were seeking are all already present in our soils, barns and storage facilities. It is no surprise that in the correct environment they will flourish, and present themselves as problems or rot in our garlic. However, if one understands the need to first start with a good seed source, and second to understand the physical needs of the garlic from harvest to final storage, one should have a fairly stable level of production and profit.