As my neighbours can attest, more about I love making the neighbourhood smell like a fish processing plant. It’s one more thing that I do to show my love. But it goes beyond that, in our climate (with all the rain we get) nitrogen and boron–among other macro/micronutrients–get washed out of the soil. I’ve found that using rotten fish on my trees, blueberries, grapes, and garlic provides the difference between not having all that much abundance and having a huge yield. This is especially the case with blueberries, while in grapes it makes for nicer quality. Being a horticulture geek, I’m a bit of a sucker for novel fertilizers.
I decided to use the stuff on the garlic this year as a soil drench and inadvertently got it all over the tops, too. This was because for a big bulb you want to have the biggest and strongest tops you can get. Now the stuff is creeping past the three foot tall mark under relatively adverse conditions. I didn’t bother trying to wash it off the tops due to the brevity of time I had at my disposal and I was a bit concerned that perhaps the dilution would be too strong for the foliage to handle. Fast forward a month and there’s not a speck of rust on my garlic while I’ve noticed that my neighbours’ plants are close to dying from rust. Here’s what I’m talking about:
It ain’t at all pretty and it inhibits the plants from being able to photosynthesize properly. There’s also no recommended organic remedies other than crying about it once it gets to this stage in a field. Last year I had a huge problem with it and when I phoned the Ministry of Plenty (Agriculture) and asked for an extension agent I got told after being on hold for an hour “oh, she’s on vacation till September.” Keep in mind that it was July at the time…
But this year there’s zip, nada in terms of rust on my garlic which sent me into head scratching contemplation. We had plenty of wet horrible weather in late May (and so far early June, too) which is VERY conductive to the disease taking over. But then this morning I picked up the last issue of Acres USA, my favourite magazine, I started reading in the current issues section that they’re doing a trial in Georgia on the use of foliar fish fertilizer on blueberries as they’ve been noticing that it inhibits them form getting a variety of pathogens. Maybe it’s the same case with garlic?
Years ago Milo apparently told a customer that he used fish fertilizer and kelp on the tomatoes to inhibit blight which I thought was a bunch of nonsense at the time, but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps the properties of what dad calls “the worst smelling poontang this side of the Mississippi” is intolerable to fungus, too.