After spending the winter all snug in their beds, I decided it was time to weed and fertilize the garlic plants today. Like its cousin the onion, garlic is a fairly heavy feeder that doesn’t like competition from weeds. I wanted to get the weeds before they got out of control, or I got too busy to deal with them.
Last fall I amended the beds with plenty of compost and some bone meal (4-12-0) before planting. After planting I mulched with some straw. And that was pretty much all I did with them until today.
The beds were starting to get a little weedy, mainly with chickweed and dead nettle, plus a few wheat plants that had sprouted from the straw. After weeding, I fertilized the bed with some blood meal (12-0-0), using about a pound for the 50 square foot bed. Then I lightly scratched the fertilizer in with my hoe.
Since we’re having a warmer and dried than usual spring, I decided to put some straw back down as a mulch to help retain moisture and to keep down the weeds. Then I gave the bed a good, thorough watering.
Last year I planted one of the two garlic beds with an 8 inch spacing, and the other with my usual 6 inch grid spacing. I have to say the 8 inch spaced bed was definitely easier to weed. At harvest time we will see if it results in increased yields.
I will come back in about a month and fertilize the garlic beds again, probably with a liquid fish emulsion/seaweed mix. And if we don’t get enough rain, I will keep the garlic well watered until near harvest time, which usually begins here in July. Until then, our garlic supply from the 2011 harvest is holding out quite nicely. I’ll be back later with more garlic news as it develops.