Garlic question?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Vida Bien, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Vida Bien

    Vida Bien New Member

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    Garlic TO mulch or not to mulch?Is it better to mulch with straw or to just let it grow without mulch ?
    How often does garlic like to be watered ? Thank you in advance.
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It is almost always better to mulch than not to mulch, as long as you are using appropriate material. However, it would be best to wait until the ground warms up before applying mulch like straw, because it will insulate the ground, making it cooler and slowing down early season growth. A mulch of finished compost can be applied at any time. Water when the top couple of cm of soil is dry.
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    I agree with Vitog. I garden, therefore I mulch.

    I mulch with an inch or two of compost or aged manure after I plant the bulbs in the Fall. Gives nutrients overwinter. I will give more, newer manure as a mulch in April/May when it warms up a bit, and no other fertilizer. I find that they don't like to dry out. The leaves prematurely yellow and growth stalls. I have had good success with this approach for a few years now. I know, because my family are often scrounging garlic from me.

    I have no use for straw. Messy, rots too quickly in our wet climate, possibility of fungal problems (I have enough of those already!). Oops, I'm getting quite opinionated. Time to go.
     
  4. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Mulching in general – YES, mulching Garlic – no, but I agree with vitog that only exception could be finished compost.
    From my own experience, as well from a lot of observation, Garlic, like most bulbous plants, does not respond well to overly and constantly moist soil. Mulch prevents evaporation and, combined with too frequent watering, creates that kind of conditions in the soil.

    After harvesting I would either mulch the bed or sow a cover crop to supply organic material to the soil. That material, during decomposition, supplies all the necessary nutrients for the next growing season.
    Anything organic is good, as long as it is not contaminated with chemicals: grass clippings, straw, leaf mould, wood chips, compost, etc. Since each of this materials has a different carbon to nitrogen ratio mix them together for the best results.

    Personally, I don't use manure. Unfortunately, this days it is almost always contaminated with antibiotics and other undesirable materials used in today's farming practices. Sorry, Lysichiton :-)

    As for watering, I agree that it should not be done before a couple of centimeters of soil on top is dry. How often it depends on the kind of soil you have, weather – dry or rainy, air temperature.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  5. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Ah well, we all do it differently. Which is a good thing.

    I have a very loose, well drained soil that is very difficult to over-water. If I were on clay, I am sure I'd sing a different song.
    I do know where my manure comes from - a local small scale chicken farmer. He does not use prophylactic antibiotics and the only bedding mixed-in is sawdust (non-cedar). I would be hesitant to use manure from an unknown source, having talked to local vets about horse stables and some commercial poultry farms.

    Out of interest, I will say that I find roots from garlic and other crops will spread up into the mulch layer on top of the "soil". I make little distinction between this organic layer on top and the somewhat less organic layer below. The plants are smart enough to find the the water and nutrient sources that serve them best, it seems to me.

    For Vida Bien, do a search for "garlic" on this site. There have been some good discussions in the past.
     
  6. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper Active Member

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    I have grown great Russian Red for 15 years. I plant in Oct barely pushing the clove into the soil. I do have a crow problem so I cover it with landscaping cloth until Jan. I have never mulched and never water from the time of planting till I pull it toward the end of July.
     
  7. Vida Bien

    Vida Bien New Member

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    Thanks for your reply if you do not water your garlic what is your soil like? Do the bulbs get to full size we grow purple Russian as well as one called buba a Iittle on the spicey side.
     
  8. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    http://www.durgan.org/2015/October%202015/19%20October%202015%20Planting%20Garlic/HTML/ 19 October 2015 Planting Garlic
    Garlic was planted to be harvested in July 2016. A row of bulbils was planted at about 2 inch spacing, a row of rounds planted at 4 inch spacing and five rows (80 cloves) was planted at 6 inch spacing. The garlic is from the 2015 harvest. The 8 foot square bed was prepared about a month ago and heavily mulched to retain moisture. Boards were placed to mark the rows. Garlic has no difficulty pushing through the mulch in the Spring. The bulbils will produce rounds in 2016 and the rounds now planted will produce about three normal sized cloves in 2016.Planting the bulbils and rounds will eventually become the cloves for normal planting. This allows more bulbs for use, since none will be used for seed.
    dsc_843419%20october%202015%20planting%20garlic_std.jpg

    http://www.durgan.org/2015/August%202015/8%20August%202015%20Garlic%20Clove/HTML/ 8 August 2015 Garlic Clove
    This is my typical garlic clove. At the garlic festivals I have not encountered better. This is hard neck and the name is not known. I select the best bulbs for seed each year, but also am growing bulbils now for seed. It has a strong biting, garlic flavor, meaning it is not pleasant to eat raw, since it burns somewhat. The clove skin is slightly colored purple near the base, but the clove is perfectly white after the skin is removed. The largest clove is 31 grams and the total bulb weight is 117 grams.
    dsc_78848%20august%202015%20garlic_std.jpg
     
  9. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper Active Member

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    Looks like great garlic! My soil is virtual compost. I believe that most manure is bad. Every fall I sow Fava beans and Fall Rye over the entire plot. When they are about 6 inches I dig them in and replant . If the weather permits I do it three times some years I leave the last one over till spring. I plant the cloves by my hand from tip of thumb to tip of little finger about eight inches. I plant 250 cloves every year and share it with all our friends. I am giving the last few bulbs away at present. I have noted that neighbours who plant their cloves too close get small bulbs which they seem to prefer. I have noticed that when I pull the garlic the soil is not "dried out ".
     
  10. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    http://www.durgan.org/2015/August%202015/2%20August%202015%20Garlic%20Harvested/HTML/ 2 August 2015 Garlic Harvested
    About 80 bulbs of garlic was harvested. The seed scapes were removed which is usually done earlier. The bulbs were hung in the shed to dry duration for about three weeks then will be trimmed for storage. Eight bulbs were left in the ground so the seed pods can mature. They are covered with gauze to contain the seeds, since they disperse when ripe rather quickly. The seeds are called bulbils which are small clones of the bulb in the ground.

    http://www.durgan.org/2015/August%202015/12%20August%202015%20Garlic%20Trimming/HTML/ 12 August 2015 Garlic Trimming
    Garlic has been drying in the shed for about two weeks and dry enough for trimming the stalks and roots for storage. The garlic is stored in an open well ventilated container in the cold room and keeps for about six months. There were 13 pounds around 75 bulbs. About 100 cloves, 5 or 6 cloves per bulb, were chosen for the seed for the 2015/2016 crop. For reference seven bulbs constitute a pound. The bulbils from one hardneck bulb was removed from the ground and the seeds collected. The gauze around the seed head is to prevent the seeds from dispersal as they dry and ripen. The seeds take a long time to mature and if collected too early they are not viable.A few elephant garlic were also processed.The seeds of the elephant are not mature yet.

    dsc_597412%20august%202015%20garlic%20trimming_std.jpg
     
  11. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper Active Member

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    I have planted the seeds from time to time as my wife likes the green shoots in the kitchen.
     

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