Each growing season at this time, we take a look at the garlic to evaluate its growth. Based on this year’s observation, we will set a schedule for cultivation and fertilization. Mother Nature gave us a warm spring thus far. So, there is a noticeable difference between the 2012 garlic growth and last year’s lack of growth due to the very cold spring (see the photographs below). We’re hoping for more warm, moist weather, however, we will take what we are given.
Based on the nice start this year, we will proceed with our schedule:
1. Mid March – Garlic emergence
2. Early April – Early spring soil amending as needed based on soil test. This year was an application of gypsum (calcium sulfate) and aragonite (sea shell flour) mixture using a drop spreader.
3. Mid April – Apply fertilizer (Schafer Liquid Fish) directly to leaves using Chapin 4-Gal. Backpack Sprayer.
4. Mid April – Cultivation on entire field both in-row & between-row. We use a 3 point hitch cultivator with 6 C-shaped spring steel shanks in between the rows. The in row (between the garlic plants) is done by hand or hand tools.
5. May 1 – Apply fertilizer (Schafer Liquid Fish ) directly to leaves using Chapin 4-Gal. Backpack Sprayer.
6. Early May – Herbicide (Vinegar) spray. (Note: Spray on a warm, dry day so that rain will not dilute or wash away the solution and avoid windy days to prevent excessive drifting.)
7. Mid May – Under seed the entire field with Crimson Clover for weed suppression and nitrogen fixation. This will be done after another cultivation on the entire field both in-row & between-row to remove weeds.
8. Mid June – Garlic Scape removal
9. Mid July – Garlic Bulb harvest
As the list shows, weed control is our biggest to-do. We use a variety of weed control methods. Living mulches (oats in fall / crimson clover in spring), mechanical cultivation, hand weeding and organic vinegar herbicide are all things in the weed management plan.
Here are our prior year observations for a visual comparison.