[Market-farming] Mulching garlic

Sean Albiston lab at physics.umn.edu
Wed Oct 18 09:51:40 EDT 2006


>From my experience, the benefit of using mulch in zone 4/5 is to offset
much of the early spring freeze/thaw cycling that might occur.  I ran a
couple of test rows with Chesnok Red and Persian Star hardneck seed stock
last year.  Some were planted into beds without any cover, some planted
into a living oat crop planted mid Sept, some under reemay.  I also
planted some under straw as usual.  All made it fine, however this past
spring was rather quick and light.  Once the snow left, we only got below
freezing a couple of evenings.  (note: we had virtually no snow cover most
of the winter, received about a foot march 15th)

To be honest, the only time I had any significant issues with garlic
emergence, was from over applied mulch.  I would imagine if using mulch
hay that lighter would be better since it is far less breathable.  Not too
sure how valuable this info is to zone 6/7.

I did the tests over the same concerns of expensive straw you are
exhibiting.  If you can handle big bales of mulch hay, you likely could
get rounds of straw cheaper than $5/50lb especially with the cheaper gas

sean albiston
Blue Roof Organics
Stillwater, MN zone 4a

> Straw is up to $5+ a bale in these parts (Washington DC environs)
> Blame it on the horses.
> I'm wondering if it's a waste of time to mulch garlic with big bale
> mulch hay. Works good on spuds, but with its solid stems I don't know
> that it would insulate well enough for over wintering garlic.
> And, what about this: fresh daily litter from horse stables. Probably
> woodchip based, but with plenty of urine and bisquits (but not
> loaded: really changed daily from small stalls) Too much carbon? Too
> much nitrogen? I wonder how much of either by the time growth REALLY
> starts for the garlic in the spring.

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