It’s the middle of October and we’re busy! Lots of garlic to plant now. However, field preparation began two months ago in mid August. That’s when we planted Garlic Field 3 with oats that serve as a “living” mulch. Here’s Garlic Field 3, the field that we’re planting our garlic crop. It has a foot tall stand of oats.
Just below is the same field after our preparation. It is now ready for the sowing of the garlic cloves. How did we make all of those long, narrow, shallow trenches? Hints: we didn’t use a plow to “plow-down” the oats and not a tiller to “incorporate” the oats into the soil. Instead as you can see, most of the oats remain standing.
The oats will “frost kill” and lay down later this fall for weather protection this winter and then weed suppression next spring. Furrowing opens a shallow trench and loosens the soil below. This year we used “mini-ripper” to make the furrows. Also, we used a “row marker” to make the rows parallel so as to make cultivation for “weed control” easier next spring.
Shown below are photos of the furrowing.
Equipment is Ferguson tractor with mini-ripper and row marker attachments.
As you can see, the series of parallel trenches made by a mini-ripper in cultivated land is something that resembles the tracks of a small plow. Now on to the garlic planting!
Here are the field notes: On October 8th and 9th, Garlic Field 3 (~ 1 acre, 300 feet field length) furrowed with 32 rows at 42 inch spacing using Ferguson tractor with mini-ripper attachment and row marker. Garlic field planting capacity is 19,200 cloves (300 feet x 32 rows/ 6 inch clove spacing) or about 400 pounds of garlic seed bulbs (19,200 cloves/ 5 cloves per bulb/ 10 bulbs per pound). Fertilizer then applied directly in trenches: #400 of raw aragonite (40#/1000 feet), 250# (26#/1000 feet) of Fertrell Super K and #200 (21#/1000 feet) of Fertrell Gold Special Starter using gallon-sized plastic water can with long spout (walk and pour method). Improvements needed are addition of a “coulter” mounted in front of mini-ripper to prevent oat entanglements on the shank. Also, we need an easier, less labor intensive method for applying fertilizer (something to ponder in the off-season).