Potatoes and garlic?

frdnicholas(Albuquerque NM)March 28, 2007

I have opened a hot spot here in Albuquerque, and am thinking about growing potatoes. So that I don't post this in 2 forums, I'll list both questions here. Do potatoes and garlic go together as far as companions? Do potatoes like all day direct sun with a cement wall behind them that holds the heat of our Southwestern summers?

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Good to see you posting again, Frdnicholas. I'm over on the Rocky Mountain Gardening forum quite a bit but I'm waaaay north of Albuqueque with much lower elevation. So, it probably isn't as hot nor is the sunlight as intense. (Our growing season is probably very similar in length.)

I'm not sure what you are thinking of with the garlic. It is usually planted in the Fall and harvested in late Summer. Would you be planting potatoes amongst an established planting of garlic? Certainly, after potatoes are harvested, one could plant garlic.

I know that the conventional wisdom is that garlic stunts the growth of peas and beans and is beneficial in repeling aphids . . . I would think that the harvest time should be very good since both vegetables would be coming out of the ground in mid to late Summer. That way, you could free up ground for things like greens planted in September.

I can see a little below ground competition, however. So it isn't as tho' you could take too much advantage of space requirements.

There are varying recommendations on fertilizers but, of course, it would depend on what is already in the soil. Onions benefit from quite a lot of nitrogen and that isn't quite true with potatoes but the extension folks aren't pushing the N for garlic as much. One source suggests higher levels of phosphorus for garlic and another source suggests higher levels for potatoes.(?) Both benefit from adequate potassium. And, calcium would be of help if there are problems with available soil moisture. Potatoes are going to prefer a fairly acidic soil but to a limited extent, that would also be okay with the garlic.

With regards to problems with heat in the potatoes: Heat stress during the start of potato tuber development can really decrease production. An early developing variety may be essential for a high heat location.

You'd obviously need to avoid increasing the stress on the plants by not having adequate soil moisture. Mulching could help both with moisture retention and keeping the soil cool. A pine needle mulch may help lower pH. Quick maturing, red-skinned potatoes are often the choice for the southern growers and they may be the best for you.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 9:27PM
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frdnicholas(Albuquerque NM)

Actually, what I had been thinking of doing was planting a clove of garlic, and then planting potatoes next to the garlic. I didn't realize that garlic is planted in the fall. I went ahead and planted the clove, but since initially writing this post, I have planted some flowers near the garlic. I was wondering what was taking the garlic so long to come up. Maybe it won't until the fall? Should I keep watering the spot where the clove is planted?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 10:11PM
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Well, Frdnicholas, my understanding is that for Spring planting, garlic needs to first be chilled to grow properly. They still may not reach an adequate size. Eight weeks refrigeration is what I've read. Of course, Fall planted garlic receives this chilling in the soil.

You may just want to leave the bulbs in the ground until 2008 however well they grow or don't this year.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Hi Frdnicholas,
Yes, I'd leave your garlic in the ground this winter and harviest next year. You can eat the scapes this year if you get any. See the alliums forum for lots of advice on growing garlic and also on eating garlic scapes. I also am from a very cold area, but I would think you could grow your potatoes in the late winter early spring there, thus avoiding some of the heat problems. Here usually as soon as it get's hot, not until Aug, the plants will burn out and then it's time to dig. I don't know if you guys even get frost there, but if you don't you could just plant them in the fall, the warming effects of the wall would keep the soil from freezing and ward off any frosts.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 10:37AM
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