This year I got serious about garlic and actually applied about 6" of mulch. My ? is, When do I remove it? Should I wait until I see growth through the mulch? Garlic planted was elephant and german hardneck.
I apply about 3 or 4 inches of mulch. I do not remove it since it's valuable as a moisture retaining cover, a weed suppressor and later after harvest, it enriches the soil.
But, if you love to weed, you can remove it !
Maryanne in WMass
Maybe I'll just spread it out a bit when the new growth pops thru. Thanks Maryanne
I can't speak to the elephant garlic, but the hardnecks should have no problem punching through 6" of mulch. That is roughly the depth I aim for, usually grass clippings.
If 6" of mulch smothers weeds, wouldn't it smother the garlic too?
Hardneck garlic is notoroiusly determined. This past october I had a few poking out of my mulch already, just daring the frost. If they haven't punched through 2-3 weeks after the ground has thawed can always gingerly check to make sure that they aren't being deterred. I wouldn't worry about it though.
I've found the elephant garlic is later pushing up, so don't be worried. You could dig and check.
My Elephant garlic is 2' tall and beginning to flop already. I've just begun mulching it lightly with light compost and leaf mold...but should have done so sooner I think, as we had quite the enjoyable L.A.-like drought during Feb/March. Most of the walking onion and garlic cloves martin sent me last fall has barely started to show.
Cool Spring Rains have begun however - so all the allium will now grow like crazy, thank goodness. I'm gonna harvest and cook some elephant garlic greens so they don't just rot on the ground. And add a soft top mulch of dry leaves. (please let me know if that is a bad idea - thanx!)
What a difference a Month makes!
The Elephant Garlic has doubled, and the cool windy rains of Spring has seasoned and toughened the stalks - not a floppy one in sight. Seems they also liked the leaf mold and coffee grounds I scattered around last month. It's like these EG plants were infused with testosterone! Only One Slug in sight also, and now he's a goner.
I'll have a good EG harvest by August...
with plenty left in the grove for the next year's Table.
Today I will roast what (I think) is the *last* of the Garlic that Conan bought me at the World-Annual Oregon Elephant Garlic Festival. I'm also growing 2 kinds of Shallots we found at the Fest too. It's an enjoyable source - if you can come to the NW in late August.
btw, *most* of the source
for my groovy EG patch
was from a curbside bin -
Someone else had grown impatient and yanked theirs.
I spotted some ratty-looking greens on the curb,
waiting sadly for the city compost truck -
so I called out to my (often tolerant and generous) neighbor Dana to PULL OVER!! I jumped out
and rescued a smelly armload -
and heeled them into a barren spot last summer.
Very happy they came back - and will feed me,
and friends for years.
Sun is expected, so they get more leaf mulch TODAY!
All my hard necks are doing great. Most have greens almost a foot tall. The nearby walking onions are also the same height. Just weeded today, and there weren't many to deal with anyway. Its because I put down corn gluten in the garlic patch, as well as in my asparagus patch.
Well it turns out that just adding leaf mold and compost now and then was just great. Here is a photo of just part of my first-ever elephant garlic harvest! The jar overflows with Seed...which forms at the base of bulbs.
I got enough for all year - with seed to share - and plenty of cute _yearling_ bulbs and seed to replantr so i'll have sevral years of harvest. All from grabbing an armload of discarded greens found out on a curb in spring of 2004!
It's so cool that even the round elephant garlic yearlings produce seeed. Plenty for everyone! I might plant the flower seed too - altho that should take years to harvest...if they germinate.
The shot below shows how seeds form at the base of elephant garlic bulbs. Individual Cloves can be re-planted too...from teh mature heads - as with regular garlic. In Oregon - we get a season of Fall growt, and all are sure to come back in Spring - with just a light mulch and no watering. So EASY!
Here is a link that might be useful: all this can be re-planted for future abundance