unmulching garlic

jeaninmt(3a)April 23, 2012

Wow, talk about living mulch. Last fall I mulched the garlic patch with straw, turns out its barley straw and its growing. Today I decided to take the mulch off as its growing barley and I didn't know if the garlic would punch through it or not.

Well, after rolling it all back, the garlic was pushing through and now has white stalks about 6" long exposed. Can it get sunburned ? Should I lightly mulch it right away with something less likely to grow ? We are having our first warm weather these past two days so it will get in the high 60's, maybe low 70's.

Thanks for any ideas, Jean in Mt

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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

6 inches of mulch is way too much and should have been pulled back to allow the garlic light when it broke though the soil surface.
And yes, most straw will sprout seeds, the combine used to harvest the grain never gets every last bit.

That said, I think you can stress any plant by depriving it of light and then scalding it in full sun. I'd fluff up the straw to kill the growing grain and then use it to mulch the garlic again. But this time, don't cover the plants completely, let some light in. Then when it's cloudy, you can pull back the mulch more to allow more photosynthesis to happen gradually.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:10AM
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Thanks for sharing!! I did flip the mulch and set it alongside. The stems are greening up already and don't seem to be getting wilty. Thanks !!
- Jean in Mt

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:20AM
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