Garlic Pest and Disease Testing

PDFs of My Garlic Pest Results


What is a pest?

Please note the correct use of the word “pest” in agriculture includes insects, animals, viruses,
bacterium, and fungi (and a other things, but you get the idea). There are major garlic pests that MAY
be spread by the “seed” garlic heads that you buy for your garden or farm. Chief and most serious
among these are White Rot and Bloat Nematode. One of these more serious pests introduced to your
soil (and then into any current garlic you have) can eliminate your ability to ever grow garlic and
onions again. Botrytis, Fusarium, and Penicillium mold are also problems. Leek Moth and a few other
insects are up and coming. Each year I find that many potential customers have never heard of these
concerns. Keep in mind that your own current or past plantings of bulbs, onion sets, and other plant
material might have already introduced these pests into your garden or farm. Clean and healthy
purchased “seed” garlic can be infected by pests already present in your home plot.

Garlic Certification

There is no certification for “seed” garlic like “seed” potatoes at this time. I would like this to
occur but there is plenty of push back by states and producers to maintain unregulated state-to-state
garlic sales. It is my opinion that garlic stands at a precarious point in its commercial history. If
diseases and pests do indeed get a foothold, the consequences are exponential for home gardeners and
farmers. The best advice I can give is to ask to see test results, and withstand the ambition to become a
collector of garlic strains. At this time, I would find it very risky to buy or be given a single untested
strain of garlic, regardless of legendary provenance or renowned flavor. It could literally be the
President of the United States giving me garlic and I would still get the testing done. Trust but verify!
Refer to THE GARLIC BUYER'S CHECKLIST for more on how to better choose good, healthy
“seed” garlic.