Soil nutrient management is the control of crop fertility and other production practices for efficient crop growth and water quality protection. Nutrient management plans are site-specific to minimize undesired environmental effects while optimizing farm profits and production.
Garlic grows best in well-drained, friable (easily crumbled in the hand) soil, with high organic matter content. High organic matter aids in soil water-holding capacity and drainage. Our soil management strategy is to yearly rotate our garlic crop with one or more cover crops. Cover crops are useful as a soil conditioner and supplement. Bulk manure compost with organic soil amendments in combination with cover crop rotation will be used to provide sufficient nutrients to improve and maintain our soil conditions. No synthetic fertilizers will be used.
Organic fertilizers are better than artificial products because they are the derivatives of plants and therefore contain most or all the trace elements that exist in growing plants. Synthetic fertilizers do not have this rounded balance of mineral nutrients.
Soil testing is the agronomists map to supplying the best blended fertilizer for our soil type and for our specific crops. To get our garlic farm soil fertility optimized, we have had micro-nutrient soil tests performed by A&L EASTERN LABORATORIES, INC., 7621 Whitepine Road Richmond VA 23237, (see website at www.al-labs-eastern.com). Based on these micro-nutrient soil test results, customized soil amendments are being incorporated for our garlic production.