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Old November 4, 2017   #16
Father'sDaughter
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Default Mulch for garlic

Looking good! I planted mine a couple of weeks ago, and as soon as it gets colder and more leaves fall, my bed will get a heavy layer of chopped leaves. For now I’m hoping the garlic roots are getting a strong foothold before winter halts their growth.

I learned that chopped leaves tend to stay put better than whole ones. And while I do a thick layer late in the fall, I will gently rake some of it off the garlic bed once it thaws in the spring, leaving just enough to cover the drip tubing and suppress weeds. It has been working well and by fall, most of the leaf mulching will have broken down.

Straw has gotten pricey around here as so many homeowners are buying bales to use as part of their lawn decorations... and even if it is labeled seed free, I still spend half the summer pulling out sprouts...
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Old November 5, 2017   #17
pmcgrady
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I'm using PH's method this year, I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. DeWitt Sunbelt woven landscape cover 3 foot wide. Holes are 9" apart. I going to throw a couple inches of straw over that.




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Old November 5, 2017   #18
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All our strong winds recently have been from the south - wrong direction for our west facing beach. But the wind has switched and strong westerlies SW and NW yesterday and today, so max chance of a good haul of kelp from the beach after that. Will check it out tomorrow morning and see if I can get enough for all my garlic beds. If not I will go with leaves as a second choice.
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Old November 5, 2017   #19
svalli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcgrady View Post
I'm using PH's method this year, I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. DeWitt Sunbelt woven landscape cover 3 foot wide. Holes are 9" apart. I going to throw a couple inches of straw over that.

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I have 1 meter wide black plastic over the beds, which works as summer mulch. This is now 3rd season for the same plastic sheets. I'm planning to use the woven stuff, when these sheets get too worn to be reused.

I was looking for straw, but the smaller bales are quite expensive and the grain crops have been bred to have so short stems that those are mostly mulched directly to the field with harvester and not baled at all. I am also a bit worried, if baled straw could have residue of broad-leaf plant killing herbicides. I am not sure, if my worries are totally groundless, but reading about the aminopyralid contaminated gardens has got me to be more cautious.

A company in Finland sells mulch made from industrial hemp. That should work well, but it is also quite expensive to get. I would like to grow my own and shred it with the wood chipper to get mulch. Maybe next spring I will try to get seeds to plant a small patch to try it.

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Old November 5, 2017   #20
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I was hoping for a frost to simplify pulling plants to make room for my garlic.

Decided not to wait any longer and pulled some plants, added some compost and put in Mexican and Elephant Garlic.

Thinking of passing on mulching since everything will be snow covered soon anyways.

I came across this link where they compared mulching to not mulching...

https://goingtoseed.wordpress.com/20...ulched-garlic/
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Old November 5, 2017   #21
Father'sDaughter
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Personally, I am afraid to skip the winter mulch since I only plant 110 cloves and even a 30% winter kill like they had would be a huge hit.

If I were growing on a larger scale, or had some way of knowing we were going to have heavy snow fall early in the winter and that there would be no mid-winter thaw, then I might consider skipping it.
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Old November 5, 2017   #22
greenthumbomaha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svalli View Post
I have 1 meter wide black plastic over the beds, which works as summer mulch. This is now 3rd season for the same plastic sheets. I'm planning to use the woven stuff, when these sheets get too worn to be reused.

I was looking for straw, but the smaller bales are quite expensive and the grain crops have been bred to have so short stems that those are mostly mulched directly to the field with harvester and not baled at all. I am also a bit worried, if baled straw could have residue of broad-leaf plant killing herbicides. I am not sure, if my worries are totally groundless, but reading about the aminopyralid contaminated gardens has got me to be more cautious.

A company in Finland sells mulch made from industrial hemp. That should work well, but it is also quite expensive to get. I would like to grow my own and shred it with the wood chipper to get mulch. Maybe next spring I will try to get seeds to plant a small patch to try it.

Sari

I am wondering about using Halloween decoration bales because of the potential for contamination too.

I'm also not using bagged leaves left out for municipal collection because of possible contamination from treatment for emerald ash borer which has migrated to my area.

One of the bales is actually sprouting grass while I muse over this. Not a great weed barrier, but the price (zero) was great.

- Lisa
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Old November 6, 2017   #23
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I'm also afraid to skip the mulch and risk losses. Although I've seen garlic do fine without mulch at the farm, the microclimate here is more extreme. We get a lot of freeze and thaw cycles every winter, so I can't really count on the snow. I think some of my losses last year could have partly been blamed on the quality of mulch as well, which was different on different beds and a bit thin in some places. Dryer bits of kelp mulch were not as good. Even leaves did better. So I need a nice even layer of fresh kelp. The leaf mulched bed didn't lose a single clove, either, although it wasn't that thick maybe inch and a half.

I also think that smaller cloves, rounds or 2nd year cloves are more vulnerable, maybe because they're not planted as deep.

Also, at a small scale, removing mulch in spring is a small price to pay for survival vs loss where the snow cover is risky. Although in my garden, I could probably have it removed with no effort, by letting the ravens go to it. I only worried they may pull the garlic too.

That is a great link EPawlick. Lots of discussion about different experiences.
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Old November 6, 2017   #24
TomNJ
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Put my garlic in two weeks ago and covered with a thick layer of grass clippings. I switched from spoiled hay to grass clippings a few years ago as we cut two acres around the house and have a lot of clippings! Plus it has absolutely no weed seeds, is easy to handle and spread, and is soft enough for the young garlic plants to easily penetrate in early March. I always leave the mulch on throughout the growing season for water retention and weed suppression.

Two 50' beds, each having three rows of garlic spaced 6" within the rows, and the rows 12" apart for a total of 570 plants.

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Old November 6, 2017   #25
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[QUOTE=bower;670740]I'm also afraid to skip the mulch and risk losses. Although I've seen garlic do fine without mulch at the farm, the microclimate here is more extreme. We get a lot of freeze and thaw cycles every winter, so I can't really count on the snow. I think some of my losses last year could have partly been blamed on the quality of mulch as well, which was different on different beds and a bit thin in some places. Dryer bits of kelp mulch were not as good. Even leaves did better. So I need a nice even layer of fresh kelp. The leaf mulched bed didn't lose a single clove, either, although it wasn't that thick maybe inch and a half.

I also think that smaller cloves, rounds or 2nd year cloves are more vulnerable, maybe because they're not planted as deep.
.[/QUO TE]

My garlic plot is so small that I'll probably not chance leaving it without mulch.
Once the red maple leaves drop, I'll add some leaf mulch... Should be a hard frost soon.
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Old November 6, 2017   #26
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What works well for me is to rake the leaf mulch off to the side as soon as it thaws, apply some blood meal, let the sun warm the soil for a couple of weeks, apply a balanced fertilizer (8-8-8), then rake the leaf mulch back onto the bed. I added the blood meal application to the routine last year and had one of the best garlic crops in years, so I will do the same this year.
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Old November 8, 2017   #27
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Well I didn't get much kelp - not enough for all the garlic this time. But then I scored a massive load of leaves, from a place in town where it's mostly maples. So all my beds have a really deep mulch of maple leaves this time, even the ones that got some kelp. I just thought, why not. Pile it on. I've never had so much.
I have some chicken wire I had laid over the beds, on the faint hope of discouraging moose from walking on it, or failing that, just limit the destruction of their tracks. So that got flipped and laid back over the leaves. Not a bad setup for a windy place.
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Old February 4, 2018   #28
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We went snowshoeing today and I got to check my plantings. There is about a foot of snow on top of the garlic. I'm glad we got this natural mulch this year for the coldest time of the winter. Last nigh it had been below -20°C (-4°F) and next couple of nights will be quite cold too.

Hopefully two months from now it starts to look different and there could be something peeking from the ground.

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Old February 4, 2018   #29
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That looks excellent, Svalli! They should do really well this year.
We normally have a lot of snow down by this time, but we are having the strangest winter ever. Thaws at least twice a week, sometimes lasting 2 or 3 days, with rain and southerly winds. It's definitely a challenge for the garlic, so I'm glad I got lots of kelp and leaves. All the discussion about mulch was helpful and I hope it's enough. The raised beds seem to be draining well and the bulbil container too, no ice water on top.

But I kept back some of each kind of bulbil just in case, which I planted a couple of days ago in the greenhouse, as a backup plan.
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Old February 4, 2018   #30
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Thanks bower. We got one good rainfall couple of weeks ago, so the snow cover shrunk a bit, but since then it has been snowing more. I do not like to shovel the snow, but so far it has been good for plants. I covered my raised beds here in the city, where I have planted cloves and bulbils, so that the melting snow will not form ice on top of the soil. The garden should be now well protected.

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