TRIB TOTAL MEDIA SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018 · 9
Garlic planting prep should be underway
After the garlic is planted, cover the
entire bed with 6 to 10 inches of loose
straw. This will prevent heaving through
the winter, hold in moisture and cut
down greatly on the weeds.
Thoroughly water the bed. For the first
couple of waterings, use a liquid fertilizer
such as Fertilome Rooting-N-Blooming.
This will help in getting a strong root
system established quickly.
Water the bed for the next several days
to get the planting bed thoroughly moist
because the garlic is several inches below
the surface, and it takes several waterings
to get the top 3 to 4 inches of the soil
moist. If the weather remains dry, water
at least once a week.
Autumn-planted garlic will remain
dormant for a few weeks and then develop
roots and a shoot. Winter will not
harm the garlic shoots. With the onset of
the cold of winter, growth is fairly slow
until temperatures warm in spring.
The cold of winter is needed to initiate
the side buds that will ultimately grow
and swell to become cloves. The lengthening
days of spring are the signal for the
initiated but undeveloped side buds to
start forming into cloves.
After the garlic starts to show growth
in the spring, side dress every two weeks
with about a pound of nitrate of soda
or ½ pound of urea for every 100 feet of
row to ensure large cloves. It’s better to
fertilize more often with less fertilizer
than to apply a lot of fertilizer less often.
Garlic requires a lot of nitrogen. The
larger the tops grow, the larger the bulb.
Keep fertilizing until the end of June.
Keeping garlic watered is important,
as it has a shallow root system. Adding a
fertilizer to the water will help increase
bulb size. The most critical stage for irrigation
is during bulbing (mid-May to
late June or early July). Lack of irrigation
or rainfall during this stage will result in
smaller bulbs and earlier maturity.
Irrigation should be stopped about two
weeks before harvest to avoid stained
bulb wrappers and diseases.
Dave Vargo is the owner of Arnold Feed
& Garden Center (724-335-1821) and
Kiski Plaza Garden & Feed Center (724-
845-8201). Products mentioned in the
article are available at either garden center.
Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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