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Rust on the leeks

Hi, the last 5 or 6 of my remaining crop of leeks (in a raised bed) has developed rust. They all taste just as good once I have pealed back the affected skin however, I was hoping to plant my onions in this bed for next year. Does rust transfer/infect the soil? I read that rust is a consequence of too wet conditions but I am concerned that the problem may affect the onions?



  • Leek rust can only stay alive on living plants so as long as you have eaten all of your leeks before you plant anything else in the family (especially garlic, onions or chives), you should be ok.  However, there are other far more destructive soil-borne diseases such as white rot which make it a very good idea to rotate your crops and never grow the same family in the same place as last year, so if you can plant the onions somewhere else, that would be safest.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for the advice Bob. That's really good to know. Unfortunately I only have 3 beds. I have followed the advice about rotating root veg, allium and brassicas but I have come to conclusion that I was growing things that I didn't often eat or wouldn't store well so I typically grow onions, shallots, leeks and garlic in two beds and the other with salad crops and beetroot so I have at least one bed that may be susceptible to white rot. Is there any other way of fending off the problem? I can still rotate but this year the bed that has the leek will either get the onions or the garlic and shallots.


  • If you have gotten away with it for a few years, I would continue as you are, especially in rotating as much as you can and also sticking with your current allium seed/set/clove supplier, because what they are supplying seems to be free of the dreaded white rot.  I don't think there is anything special you can do to prevent white rot entering your beds, but do avoid buying-in young plants as these may already be infected, and always go for seed or sets.   As I'm sure you already know as a veg gardener, keeping the soil fed and healthy with an autumn mulch of well-rotted manure and/or garden compost will keep the soil ecosystem in good shape and natural beneficial fungi will likely out-compete those you'd rather not take hold. :)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks so much Bob. Fingers crossed for a healthy bumper crop next year :)
  • Absolutely!  Let's hope the weather has fewer extremes, too, as that certainly didn't help this year!
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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