Start time to prepare your garlic beds

Chicken dome

As with most vegetables, preparing your soil ahead of time usually yields better results.  Garlic thrives in soil rich with organic matter (without it being too rich in nitrogen). So, adding good compost and/or well rotted manure about now will work wonders later.  Avoid very strong or fresh manures.

 

In our ‘mandala gardens’ we are constantly building the soil year round with the help our worker chickens living in ‘chook tractors’ or ‘domes’ where they are regularly fed weeds, kitchen scraps, straw, grass clippings and any other organic matter we can scrounge.  This year we used a combination of domes and ‘green manures’ with no other crops in the rotation plan. In most cases the green manures have really just been volunteer crops (a mixture of high and low quality weeds) dug back into the soil. Most of the beds that will host garlic this year have now had the greens chipped and lightly turned over.  We will water them regularly from now until planting to help breakdown the green manure and also to let more weed seeds sprout to be gently chipped in just before planting. This also serves to reduce the weed seed bank in the soil and provide at least some protective cover for the soil in the hot dry conditions.

Watch out for our planting packs coming soon. Don’t miss out and sign up to Garlic Club for advance notice!

Remember for best results it is very important to plant high quality ‘seed’ garlic from a good market gardener or organic grower as they have not been exposed to sprout inhibitors (used to increase shelf life in supermarkets) and should have been selected for health, shape, colour and other desirable qualities.

Happy growing! Grahame