The garlic harvest is complete and our sells are in full swing. However, there is another activity that also needs our attention this time of year. That activity is preparing our fields for the fall garlic planting.
An important strategy for getting ahead of annual weeds is to use cover crops. Annuals Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) and Idagold Mustard (Sinapus alba) were planted as smother crops to prevent weeds from flourishing in the tilled soil. These specialized cover crops also provide organic matter or “Green Manure”. It is very important to mow and incorporate these cover crops before the plants set seed to prevent re-growth in next season’s cash crop.
Garlic Field 5 was seeded with the buckwheat and mustard on June 26th after the incorporation of bulk manure compost and raw aragonite soil amendments. These quick cover crops grew 3-5 ft tall in 5 weeks and were incorporated on August 1st.
Following a brief Bare Fallow with the first cover crop residue on the soil surface to provide soil conservation, Garlic Field 5 will be re-seeded with a second cover crop (Oats). The oats will frost-kill in late September or early October. Garlic plantings will then occur. Garlic cloves are placed into the late-summer cover crop residue which provides a natural “Living Mulch”.