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Old October 10, 2019   #1
greenthumbomaha
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Default Mulch for Garlic

After a moderate December, a very cold winter is predicted for my neck of the woods
.
I no longer have access to organic weed free straw.The farm store closed. The decorative fall bales unleashed a ton of weed seeds which I will likely battle for years to come. The double flame weeding did little and the garden is a mess.
Last fall I mulched with shredded leaves, and set folded tomato cages on top to hold it down. My shredder broke at the end of the last season. On the fence about buying a new one or composting for leaf mold instead.

I use Dewitt Sunbelt or Pro5 weed fabric, but there were significant break thru areas.

I have access to grass clippings. Would a thick layer hold in too much moisture over the winter? I could peel it back in early spring.

One year I used bagged pine bark mulch, but the garlic area was much smaller. It's $4 a bag here. Tree chips from local landscapers are not a good idea here - we have lots of black walnut trees in the area.

Thoughts please. Risk no mulch over the winter?

- Lisa
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Old October 10, 2019   #2
kilroyscarnival
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
One year I used bagged pine bark mulch, but the garlic area was much smaller. It's $4 a bag here. Tree chips from local landscapers are not a good idea here - we have lots of black walnut trees in the area. - Lisa
Lisa, could you use pine straw? Basically baled pine needles. We picked up some bales of it here in Orlando and I'm using it for mulch around our established outdoor plants and trees.

I did a search for "Pine Straw Omaha" and found this place. I'm not sure whether this will work for you. https://antiquitysupply.com/product/pine-straw-mulch/

I did end up chopping up some of the pine in my leaf blower/vac/mulcher so that it was shorter strands, for some smaller potted items. I'm also using some leaves.

Also wondering whether you could find sawdust?
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Old October 10, 2019   #3
bower
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Grass clippings work. I tried them one year.
I was a bit alarmed in spring when I saw some (unknown) animal had been digging or flicking the mulch around. I put it back, and when I looked out the next morning saw the culprit - a raven. I was afraid they were after the garlic but not so. When I took another look, I realized the garlic was trying to come up through the thick matted clippings, and bird was actually doing me a favor. Must've been looking for worms.



I used grass clippings every year I grew garlic at my mom's, because she always has a pile of clippings. That worked just fine.
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Old October 10, 2019   #4
greenthumbomaha
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Kilroy, that is a realy strange website. It is not a garden center. It is an office for one of the umptheen companies that make your backyard in to an outdoor oasis. They haul in tons of rock, slate, landscape stone and make tiered areas with pools, waterfalls, firepits, kitchens, paths, lights, pergolas, etc. I can't see how pine straw would fit into this type of design. Its all decorative stone with hardly anything native to the area.

Bower that is good to know. I don't have enough grass clippings for the entire bed, but it is worth trying a section until it is used up. I have quite a bit of garlic to experiment with. My limiting factor this year is lack of bed prep from not being tilled yet. Its hard to find people to do this type of labor on an occassional basis.
The weather is not cooperating for getting garlic prep done. I waited too long. It was a good season, too good to give up on until the last bit uf summer was gone.

- Lisa
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Old October 10, 2019   #5
brownrexx
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You don't need a shredder for leaves if you have a lawn mower. I have used mine and got very nice shredded leaves.

I mulched my garlic with pine needles and leaves with good results. Grass clipping should work well too except that if they are too thick they could actually not allow the garlic to grow through it. The clippings become very compacted when too thick. That is why I use them to prevent weeds from growing in my garden.
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Old October 11, 2019   #6
bower
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I've also used leaves without shredding and it is the same as the clippings, as Brownrexx said, they get too matted for the garlic to come through, so you have to remove it in spring.
Still it is a better fix than a no mulch winter, especially if you expect it to be extra cold.
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Old October 12, 2019   #7
greenthumbomaha
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My mower seems to blast the leaves in all directions which makes for a hard raking problem and smaller final volume. I have no idea why my mower isn't tame like others seem to be.
I'm going to have to battle weeds next year due to the grass seed break throughs. Its happened in this area previously. Multiple needs for a good mulch layer. At least I have some time to get it together.

- Lisa
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Old October 12, 2019   #8
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I was considering using some random grass and garden clippings, but I found grasshoppers in the pile I had gathered up and I don't want to attract them to winter in the garlic bed... I read somewhere that they can seriously damage garlic. We rarely see grasshoppers here, but this year there were a lot of them for some reason.
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Old October 12, 2019   #9
greenthumbomaha
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RYOBIModel # RY404503.7654(358)
40-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Leaf Vacuum/Mulcher 4.0 Ah Battery and Charger Included

It's a rough chop, not a fine shredder. What da ya think?

- Lisa
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Old October 12, 2019   #10
brownrexx
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One year i gathered many bags of leaves and used my mower to chop them. I poured the leaves into a big pile and several feet away in the garden I stood up a big piece of my wire fencing. As I ran the mower through the leaves they hit the fence and stopped. At the end I had a big pile of chopped leaves against the fence and no raking!
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Old October 15, 2019   #11
greenthumbomaha
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Bought Ryobi as deal of the day.

brownrexx, the mower is a fast zero turn. Would not attempt to go near a fence with something that clumsy

- Lisa
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Old October 15, 2019   #12
FarmerShawn
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I almost always use grass clippings, but I mow in the morning on a sunny day, let them dry, then collect and use, so they are almost fine hay, really. This keeps them from matting, so they stay pretty fluffy for the most part, and allows enough thickness for effective weed control without hindering the garlic from emerging. For the first time in years, I won't have any, but I do have a big pile of years-old wood chips I plan to run through my shredder to make a finer chop and mulch with those. Should work, I hope!
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Old October 15, 2019   #13
brownrexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
Bought Ryobi as deal of the day.

brownrexx, the mower is a fast zero turn. Would not attempt to go near a fence with something that clumsy

- Lisa
Lisa, I also have a zero turn mower but the fence that I use to stop the leaves from blowing too far away is about 4 feet away from the mower discharge.

I use it like a backstop. You could also use a piece of fencing with cardboard in front of it and the leaves will just blow up against it and stop.
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