Checking on the garlic

First look at garlic in spring

Today was the first walk around of the field of the year! The ground is still mostly frozen, but some spots have melted into a thick clayey muck that’ll take a while to dry out. So, you stick to the hard spots. Here, the fall-planted garlic beds are showing up. The row markers are there to prevent tilling accidents. The straw mulch is supposed to protect the cloves from heaving up during any quick freezing and thawing, by evening out the soil temperature (I doubt that would happen in this soil, it’s a just-in-case). The mulch does keep down weeds and hold in moisture during the spring and early summer, which alone is worth it. Garlic will be the first in-field veggie greenery of the season…if all has gone well.

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2 Responses to “Checking on the garlic”

  1. Patrick says:

    Besides heaving, evening out the soil temp helps the bulbs grow bigger. It doesn’t make a big difference, maybe 10% or so. The flower bulb growers here in Holland cover their plants with peat moss in the winter, for the same reason. If you have a reliable winter snow cover, this works the same as straw.

  2. Mike (tfb) says:

    The mulch may have helped out with heaving this year, when we didn’t get lasting snow cover till mid-January, with mainly above-zero weather and a few freezing spells before that. First year for garlic, two years ago, I didn’t mulch, and it worked out OK. Last year, with straw, the bulbs were much bigger, but so was the starting stock. Everything seems to work out in the 5% or so plus or minus: you do this, and it’s 5% better, don’t do that and it’s 5% worse, and all the 5%’s add up… A lot of the time, I can’t honestly say what exactly made this do better and that not so well. So I keep adjusting and observing and so far I’ve come out on the plus side… :)

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