clubroot query ..

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by grdnstff, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. grdnstff

    grdnstff Active Member 10 Years

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    hello .. we have clubroot, or what we are assuming is clubroot, in three of the beds at our community garden .. these beds hold broccoli and cabbages .. the pictures below show what is happening with the roots .. is this clubroot? .. could it be the effect of transplanting seedlings too many times before planting in the garden? .. if it is clubroot, what could be done to replenish the bed once the brassicas are removed? .. on researching clubroot (minimally) it seems that one now needs to add enough lime to the bed to raise the ph to a sweeter level .. would it then be a good idea to lay down 4" or so of compost, and then dig it in? .. the beds have been rotated .. at the end of the season last year what was thought of as clubroot was found in one bed .. this year it is in three .. how does that happen .. ? .. and interesting challenge presents itself to us, in this learning garden .. any ideas/assistance in this matter would be very much appreciated .. thank you ..
     

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  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It's definitely clubroot. I've been fighting clubroot ever since we bought our place more than 30 years ago. It seems to be under control with a 5 year rotation cycle and using lots of ground limestone/dolomite in the planting beds. Once the swollen root mass turns to a slimy mess, the fungal spores are released and are easily spread to other areas of the garden. So you have to be very careful about what you do in the infected beds. All of the garden books say that you should disinfect garden tools that have been used in such areas. I've never bothered to go that far, but I am careful to avoid spreading the spores around. Of course, it goes without saying that you never place infected plants in compost piles. I just bury infected plants in my raspberry beds that are located far from the vegetable garden. I've found that clubroot is not as much of a problem with short-lived Brassicas, such as summer cauliflower or Arugula. While the cauliflower is very susceptible to clubroot, the fungus does not get to the spore-releasing state before the harvest. So if you dig up the roots carefully after harvest, you can usually dispose of most, if not all, of the swollen nodules away from the garden. It might even work as a trap crop that way. Some Brassicas, like Arugula, seem to be immune to the fungus. At least I haven't seen any signs of infection, even though I haven't been careful about where I grow it.
     
  3. grdnstff

    grdnstff Active Member 10 Years

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    hello .. thanks for your information .. 30 years .. i guess this is something that could stick around for awhile .. do you know how it gets in the garden in the first place? .. you mention that the fungus does not get to the spore releasing state before the harvest .. is it alright to eat the vegetables, for instance, once the roots start distorting? .. would one want to keep the affected plants in the garden? .. and so we won't be planting brassicas in these three beds for at least five years .. i hope it won't spread to other beds .. ahh, well .. live and learn in the garden ..
     
  4. grdnstff

    grdnstff Active Member 10 Years

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    one other thing .. burying the plants (the whole plant or just roots) doesn't let the fungus spread as long as the burial is far away from the garden?
     
  5. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    There are many ways that the fungus can spread, but I think that it is mainly through the movement of soil contaminated by spores. Garden tools, transplants, muddy shoes, etc. can carry the spores from one place to another. That's why the garden books recommend disinfecting tools used in infected areas. As far as I know, the spores are not carried by the wind.

    The fungus doesn't get to the spore-releasing stage only for plants that are in the ground a short time. Brussels Sprouts, for example, will usually get to the spore-releasing stage before the harvest is finished. The same is true for overwintering Brassicas. The fungus is not dangerous to mammals; I have always eaten infected plants if they got to harvestable size.

    I try to remove as much of the infected roots as possible by digging around the root area and removing any nodules of infection. Usually, I put the tops of the plants in the compost bin and bury the roots away from the vegetable garden. It doesn't have to be very far away; I do everything in a 50' x 120' city lot. If the infected roots are at the decomposing stage, then the spores are being released; and you have to be very careful. At this stage, I try to remove the soil around the infected roots as well.
     
  6. grdnstff

    grdnstff Active Member 10 Years

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    thanks very much for sharing your clubroot experience .. what we did this past weekend was remove all the brassicas from the three beds .. in doing so, we discovered that every plant was infected .. a bit sad, however, on the flip side we are pleased to have removed them before the roots transformed to the spore-releasing stage .. there were a few lovely heads of cabbage, which we kept, and one head of broccoli, so i'm glad to hear that it's fine to eat them .. not sure as yet what we'll do as far as planting winter broc and sprouts and cabbage, but do know we won't be planting them in those three beds .. again, thank you ..
     

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