Blindsided by Jerry

18 Jul

Jerry Coleby-Williams (Image from Gardening Australia Website)

I love Gardening Australia on the ABC. I rarely manage to catch it live, but I never miss the replays on iView. I love the passion of the presenters and how shamelessly real [read dorky] they are.

This is not Better Homes and Gardens. Let’s face it – Sophie has a speech impediment and Leonie Norrington dresses on national TV like she’s actually gardening. Either that or attending a blue light disco in the late ’80s (I’m not sure which).

They’re delightful, all of them.

I’m in awe too of their knowledge, and the sheer information they seem to hold in their heads. It seems that they can encounter any possible plant and immediately conjure up it’s botanical name from the depths of their consciousness. How is this possible? It’s all gobbiltygook to me.

So last night I settled myself down in front of the computer to watch Saturday’s program. I must confess I mostly skip past the “pretty native garden” segments, and cut straight to the interesting bits (Like Tino).

Jerry Coleby-Williams then hit me with a bombshell. He started pulling out his garlic. Virus-riddled he said.

It looked just like mine.

So apparently, my garlic is a goner. Just like that. It has the Garlic Yellow Streak Virus, and I should just pull it out. All 150 of them.

My reading today has suggested that the yellow streaks through my garlic leaves are indeed a sign of a potyvirus. It’s not going to poison anyone, but the yield will be low so I probably shouldn’t bother. It is also spread by aphids and thrips, so now I’m convinced that this companion planting thing is a sham. Garlic and Roses – supposedly dream bedfellows.


Bring back Peter Cundall. He would have let me down gently.

10 Responses to “Blindsided by Jerry”

  1. Asydfoodie July 19, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    Don’t give up on your garlic! You bought it on purpose from Daley’s – don’t they certify it as virus free before shipping

    • L September 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      I actually bought it from Diggers, but yes, you would think so…

  2. The New Good Life July 19, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Oh the devastation! I too am a Gardening Australia fan in all their dorky glory and I so miss Peter Cundall. I’m with Asydfoodie though, I’d persevere with it and see how it goes if you don’t need the space for something else. Other than breaking your heart with advice to rip the garlic out, did Jerry offer any helpful information, like what causes the virus or how to prevent it next time?

  3. L July 19, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    I bought the garlic from Diggers, but I also planted an organic bulb that I got from Lettuce Deliver. They don’t guarantee disease-free – I’m supposed to eat it! The yellow streaks seem to be through the lot, but actually worse in the Diggers stuff. Who knows where it originated!

    Jerry offered me squat in terms of helpful advice. The Internet is pretty sketchy too. I’m definitely going to leave it and see what happens.

  4. Sarah July 19, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Poor garlic – maybe you’ll just end up with a manageable amount of garlic, rather than drowning in it.

  5. ali July 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    I love Jerry. I want my garden to look like Jerry’s. I want to be his friend, and, I want a brain transplant with Jerry. I would even (actually, probably not), pass up on Jerry for Tino.

    I am so sorry about your garlic… I am garlic challenged, I don’t know anything about growing it… I stick it in the ground and use the green shoots in salads. One day I’ll dig some up and see if any garlic has grown.

    Are you sure it’s a goner?

  6. Sarah August 17, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Yep, I think Garlic Shoots might be your solution. When the flower heads come up. chop them off, and eat the stem in a stir fry!

  7. Camilla January 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Hi Guys,
    Camilla from Diggers here. A customer has just put me onto this link with a query on yellow streak virus.
    At Diggers we cannot guarantee virus free stock. We do have crops inspected by DPI to help identify disease and virus issues which enables us to send to quarantined restricted states such as WA. We also grow out each variety each year to trial and observe crops sold. To date I have never seen virus in any of our trials.
    Unfortunately however all onions (alliums) are prone to virus including ornamental bulbs. In recent years a few people have begun to claim virus free stock as they have bought in stock from France that has come from tissue culture. The tissue culturing propagation method uses heat and other methods to help rid stock of virus. The problem still is that within one generation of growing from tissue culture plants can be infected by virus again by aphids.
    Aphids can easily spread from neighbouring paddocks / backyards so even if you have no other Alliums on your property you may still be at risk. Therefore the claim to be virus free is risky unless stock is tested regularly.
    I should also add that aphid and other leaf sucking insects damage can also mimic the look of virus so be sure to treat insect outbreaks as soon as you see them. Treatment for aphids can be made from a combination spray of 1 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of liquid soap to 1 litre of water. Agitate well. Spray on days less than 25oC. You could also use a garlic / chilli spray as a preventative. We also encourage regular feeding with liquid seaweed solutions to help boost plant vigour and to prevent stress which is often a catalyst to insect attack.
    Jerry is correct that these bulbs should be removed, but I would only remove if you have the risk that virus may spread to other onion (allium) crops. If infected use this crop for eating purposes only and do not replant. Always be sure to use crop rotation trying not to plant in the same location for at least 4 years.
    Kind regards, Camilla from Diggers (Bulb Manager and Horticultural advisor)

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks Camilla for your comment and valuable information. In the end my harvest was actually pretty good, so whether or not the virus was there, it didn’t worry me too much. I guess the lesson I learned is that companion planting garlic under the roses wasn’t necessarily such a great idea, seeing as they are both prone to aphid issues.
      I’ll be ordering your garlic again this year – It’s so rewarding to grow!


  1. Harvesting garlic with child « 500m2 in Sydney - November 11, 2011

    […] when I planted garlic under my roses, then Jerry shattered me with the news that it was infected with some virus, and it was all […]

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