Hot Water Treatment For Garlic Seed

Hot Water Garlic Seed Treatment 

WeeBee Farms has done this for years and it works great!
Hot water treatment is used to reduce or eliminate disease in garlic. It’s necessary to do this before planting your garlic to keep your soil clean. (We have issues with white rot fungus and garlic stem nematodes at our farm.) After separating your garlic into cloves, put them in netted bags and treat before planting. I use a soil/compost thermometer to measure the temperature (needs to show 120 degrees).  A kitchen sink works fine for a small batch of garlic and the hot water from the faucet may be adequate to get it to the right temperature at first. We use a bathtub. Use a lot of water to help maintain the temperature better. Have boiling water handy.

1. Pre-soak bath - Soak in water around 100°F for 30-45 minutes. This pre-warms the cloves so that the temperature of the hot- water bath is easier to maintain. Temperature doesn't have to be precise at this point.

2. Hot-water bath – Take the cloves immediately from the pre-soak and put them in a 118-120°F hot-water bath.  Maintain this bath at 118-120°F for 20 minutes.  Start timing when the water reaches proper temperature.
The temperature of the hot-water bath will fall when the cloves are added.  You
need to have boiling water handy to quickly raise the temperature. Stir while adding boiling water. DO NOT LET WATER GET HOTTER THAN 120 DEGREES!

3. Cool bath – Immediately submerse the cloves in a cool water bath for 10-20 minutes. Cool tap or hose water is usually fine. (64-72°F is a good temperature). We partially dry them out on a rack before planting but usually plant while moist.

4. Plant on the same day or within a few days of treatment. Can be planted wet or air-dried. If planting later, keep in netted bags or spread on a drying rack until planting time. (If they dry out well they'll store for weeks.)
At WeeBee Farms we coat the cloves in Mycorrhizal powder (and RootShield Plus) right before planting to further combat the white rot disease we have found on our farm. We do this while the cloves are still moist, or if they've dried out we moisten them before coating in the powder.

Keeping the thermometer upright

We have been using this soak and powder method every year since 2012, with no loss of germination or size. In fact over all the garlic is larger and healthier since we started soaking. It seems to be very effective in reducing all types of diseases and pests including the white rot and stem bloat nematodes. We have had minor issues with mites after harvest and this soak also seems to minimize that issue as well. We plant around 15,000 cloves each year, and have grown garlic since 1996. The garlic fields are rotated every other year with cover crops planted in between.