ArceyJohnson
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Location: Upstate NY

Garlic Bed Maintenance

I just harvested my garlic crop for the year, and the bed has nothing scheduled to go into it until mid-October when the garlic goes in again. The soil is pretty crappy...I never added anything to it (got the garlic from a hitchhiker when I wasn't expecting it) and it's hosted two rounds of garlic (along with some native goldenrod). I am wondering if there is anything I can plant in there to help replenish the soil for the next round of garlic, or if I should just put on a giant layer of compost and let it sit undisturbed until I plant.

Thoughts?

aj

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

AJ,

If I had the option I would choose another spot for my garlic. In the past I have had problems with onion maggot after planting in the same spot several years in a row. Lacking the option I don't think that you have time to sow a cover crop, so I would go with the addition of compost. You also might consider mulching after the compost is worked in. This will help keep weeds down and condition the soil.

Norm

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I agree your best option is to add a good layer of compost, and it would be a good idea if you change the growing site for your garlic if possible, think creatively, my garlic did very well between my strawberry plants last year. You could try caliente mustard as a green manure on the compost, it has a fumigant effect and adds nutrients; after cutting it incorporate it into the soil immediately, or it will fumigate the air instead of the soil. :D
Sit down before a fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconcieved notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.
By Thomas Huxley

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farmerlon
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Location: middle Tennessee

If you want to grow some "green manure" there before the next planting of garlic, you could get some decent growth from buckwheat or cowpeas.
If you want to try that, I would go ahead and mix a plentiful amount of compost into the soil first.
Also, when it's time to plant the garlic cloves, I would do that "no till" ... I would cut off the buckwheat or cowpea plants at ground level, and lay them flat on the bed (as a mulch). Then, just poke the garlic cloves through the mulch and into the soil.

PS- I am in Zone 6, so you might not get as much growth from the green manure crop if your first Frost comes a lot earlier than mine. :wink:

ArceyJohnson
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Location: Upstate NY

Hmmm, good ideas all around. I think that half of the garlic crop is stuck in the same spot, but I might be able to move half of it into another place. Ultimate plan, I think, might be to plant in between rows in the (very young) orchard, and alternate squash and garlic each year.

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shadylane
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Location: North Central Illinois

You can work in 1-2 inches of aged manure before planting since you mentioned that you soil was "crappy". :oops: Didn't mean for pun here... Remember to keep your soil moist.

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