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Old September 5, 2017   #136
pmcgrady
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I just bought 2 rolls of 3' X 300' DeWitt landscape fabric and made a plywood jig with 2 1/4" holes. I am burning holes with a tomato paste can clipped on a pair of vice grips, I'm heating can up with a small propane torch... Working out pretty well but will take time doing 6- 300' rows. I would rather spend time doing this than pulling weeds!
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Old September 6, 2017   #137
bower
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I recently saw rolls of brown paper 4 ft wide in a hardware store. They are selling it to spread on floors etc during construction. As long as it wasn't treated with anything ie just a heavy paper, I thought it would make a great mulch for garlic that can just decompose into the soil.

I haven't found the weed pressure too onerous in my own little garlic patch, but at the farm it's a big job. I think a paper mulch would be perfect for organic garlic farming, and it would sure cut down on the work. Not sure how much it would cost, however.
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Old September 6, 2017   #138
henry
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Take a look for weed guard paper mulch 36 inches wide by 50 feet.
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Old September 7, 2017   #139
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I've had great success keeping weeds at bay and eliminating water/dirt splash up these past two years using shredded fall leaves. I mulch the garlic bed with an extra heavy layer just before winter, then pull off all but a then layer in the spring. The other bed keeps a slightly heavier layer on it and I just push it aside when I plant seedlings. It's fairly well broken down by fall and ready for a fresh topping.

I don't miss having to hunt down and pay for bales of straw. And even the supposedly "seed free" stuff would still start sprouting hay all throughout my beds.
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Old September 7, 2017   #140
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U bought this:https://www.amazon.com/Bernzomatic-1...=propane+torch
I dont think the soil will be harmed by the flame. It's only a couple seconds on the surface.
PC, you can lay multiple layers on top of each other and burn more than one at a time!
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Old September 7, 2017   #141
bower
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I suppose the ashes of the weeds also return some elements to the soil.
It also makes sense to use a mulch that contributes something to the soil when it breaks down.
I used alder leaves on one of my beds last year, and they broke down pretty quick. and seemed to do a good job of protection, at least with few misses. Really like the kelp though, but the type of seaweed does make a differerence, the real kelps are heavy and make a good cover when you put them on and yet they break down from the underside when the top is dried. You'd need truckloads of it for a farm though.

Using a solid mulch that suppresses weeds for a full growing season should make a difference the following year, I mean that after the garlic the bed should be less weedy overall? Let us know, PH, whether weeds were fairly well suppressed for the crop that follows.
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Old September 7, 2017   #142
greenthumbomaha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
I recently saw rolls of brown paper 4 ft wide in a hardware store. They are selling it to spread on floors etc during construction. As long as it wasn't treated with anything ie just a heavy paper, I thought it would make a great mulch for garlic that can just decompose into the soil.

I haven't found the weed pressure too onerous in my own little garlic patch, but at the farm it's a big job. I think a paper mulch would be perfect for organic garlic farming, and it would sure cut down on the work. Not sure how much it would cost, however.
Paper mulch is great stuff but not on it's own. It tears in the wind, doesn't stay flat, weeds push it up. I used it under the dewitt sunbelt fabric as a light block to keep any residual grass from growing thru the fabric.

Dewitt sells rolls that are safe for gardening. Yes it is expensive.

- Lisa
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Old September 8, 2017   #143
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I googled the one that Henry mentioned. I agree it's a bit expensive, but tearing in the wind would be a bigger concern for us. Of course we're used to dealing with row cover, and have lots of handy rocks to weight that down (it does sometimes get away though!).

There's a 'creped' version which sounds like it may be not a slippery surface, that would help if using leaves to mulch on top (yes they like to blow away too!).

http://www.weedguardplus.com/creped-...00000250-group

If you assigned a minimum wage to the hours spent weeding, I think it would be worth it. At least, for a farm scale operation where there is a lot of weed pressure. And again, if it reduced the weed pressure for the crop that follows that would be money in the bank too.

I think of other ways of reducing weeds - solarizing with plastic to kill seeds for example - and it means that the land is not in production during the peak season. Where at my friend's farm, every bit of usable land is sown in rotation.
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Old September 12, 2017   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
Let us know, PH, whether weeds were fairly well suppressed for the crop that follows.
I did not get a cover crop in after my garlic harvest, so the grassy weeds filled in pretty quick. But that is typical where I am. The weed seed bank seems to be unlimited where i am.
I had tarped half of the area for the summer and when I uncovered it a month ago, it was beautiful and ready to go for my fall garden crops. I tilled a few 30" wide beds to plant seeds of kale, collards, radish, hakurei turnips, lettuce, carrots and green beans. I transplanted some yellow squash and salanova lettuce that I started from seed too.
The tilled areas are showing some seed growth from weeds, but everywhere else is weed free.
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Old September 12, 2017   #145
bower
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hmmm really interesting. Especially, no weeds where not tilled, but tilling brings up the seed bank from below.
I think my friend's farm is the same, a very deep seed bank of weeds. Unfortunately a lot got added to the bank this year as some of the land was left fallow and weed management was at an all time low everywhere but the greenhouse... Will be interesting to see what she decides to do about that in coming years.
I guess solarize followed by no-till or low-till could be a workable option.
But those seed banks can really persist a long time. I've seen it on my parents' land as well, which was very old farmland. Tilling brings up stuff you didn't even know was there.
Ha ha! I imagine myself next year, teaching the little toddler how to weed!!
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Old October 8, 2017   #146
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Covering uncultivated ground with silage tarp for the summer worked really well and made planting garlic this fall much easier than before. It has been raining for a week, but the soil under the tarp was not soggy at all and easy to till for planting. We planted 840 cloves to the beds covered with same plastic which was used with previous harvest. Next summer I will cover a new area of the field with the tarp to get weedfree spot to make my vegetable beds. Now we just folded over the tarp and uncovered only half of the area, rest is saved for spring time.

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Last edited by svalli; October 9, 2017 at 01:04 AM.
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Old October 8, 2017   #147
greenthumbomaha
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For tomatoes I use the Dewitt sunbelt and the Pro5 (expensive but I prefer this to the sunbelt in rows where I walk). It is woven, but retains moisture well. I love how I didn't need to water the tomatoes as frequently in my country garden, even in 100 degree heat with little rain. I was able to stretch my trips this summer.

I have a question/concern about using this same fabric for garlic. Has anyone used it for garlic in a wet spring? I have good drainage but holding the moisture in is still worrisome to me. I'm going to have a huge weed problem in my bed with out of control windmill grass. It went crazy this sunny dry summer. The year prior I used pine bark mulch with hardly any weeds. Last season I had a thick layer of straw held down by out of season folding tomato cages. The windmill grass and a whole host of other weeds came right through the straw mulch.

I don't have access to fresh manure. I'm even ruling out torn newspaper as holding the bed too wet. Looking for some experiences with different fabrics.

- Lisa
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Old October 10, 2017   #148
PureHarvest
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Sari, YES! It's the best.

Lisa, I can't speak for heavier soils (I have loamy sand), but I don't know that it is a huge problem.
Consider that the fabric is not held down tight all the way down the edge like buried plastic film would be. I had my pins every 10' feet or so along the edges. So, air/wind could billow in and out of the bed surface and out through the holes where the garlic grows out of.
Also, you could just not plant the cloves as deep if you are worried, but if your soil drains, I would think you'd be alright.

So I have 200 lbs of cloves to plant this year, and was trying to figure out an economical way to pre-soak them to kill surface pathogens. Last year I did grain alcohol, but I only had 30 lbs to do.
It would not be cheap doing alcohol for this year. My seed supplier uses and recommended 35% hydrogen peroxide cut 3:1 with water. Soak 20 minutes before planting.
So I found some online and will give that a shot. I bought enough to cover this year and more. 4 one-gallon jug case was around $130, shipping included.

Last edited by PureHarvest; October 10, 2017 at 03:49 PM.
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Old October 11, 2017   #149
greenthumbomaha
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I went back and re-read this thread. So much info!

I thought that was you, PH, that had a problem with newly purchased garlic. In my memory it was an insect problem, but I see that is instead Bower that got invaded. Yipes, you got a bad deal there. Luckily you recognized the problem and have the ability to move on. Is the hydrogen peroxide for this or a general treatment?

I've also been reading about aster yellows in the 2012 time frame in the midwest. Darn leafhoppers! Many garlic farms were totally wiped out. Terrible.

I've grown garlic for the past two years in 10 X 4 raised beds in sandy soil amended with Black Cow. I have a picture in a recent post in this Allium forum; some garlic is repsrouting. The first year I mulched with pine bark mulch left over from the tomatoes that previously grew there and the garlic was robust. Last year I mulched with straw. The summer was drought like and scorching hot. I couldn't keep up with the watering and weeds took over. The garlic furthest from the sprinkler was barely okay, the best watered was just medium sized. I hope the garlic doesn't remember that in case next summer the floods come! I can remove the dewitt if it rains endlessly.

Svalli your bed is huge and the soil looks rich. I put down a tarp too. It's held down by lumber and it still tries to blow away at the corners. Obviously worth the effort you put into the preparation. Nice!

- Lisa
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Old October 11, 2017   #150
PureHarvest
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Lisa, the peroxide is to kill any pathogens that might be on the surface of the cloves.

In a few weeks, I will be planting 8 beds that are 200' feet long x 3' wide.
3 rows of cloves in each bed.

I will start a new thread here, beginning with the current site that is still tarped, moving on to uncovering, tilling, fabric install, planting, etc.
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