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Garlic planting

Posted by madroneb z8OR (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 18, 13 at 0:30

The weather here is cooling down quickly and I took advantage of a day between harvests to get the garlic in early this year.

I've upped the planting from last year and my body wasn't looking forward to crawling along like I do every year to plant. So I put together a few things to help mechanize the planting.
I thought i'd post some pics in case someone else wants to get creative.

The first thing is the ugliest thing i've ever made. I admit it looks more like something from a horror movie than a farming tool. It's a rolling dibbler, which marks out the spacing for the garlic to be planted. My welds are only so-so, but it did hold together. It's non-adjustable but I can use it for spacing garlic and leeks.

The next thing was simple. Two foot-rests that bolt onto the bottom of the tractor bucket. Here are my helpers riding in comfort just above the bed they're planting.
I had it easy and just drove, realllly slowwww.

All said, it took us about 5 hours to plant 275 lbs of garlic.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Garlic planting

Well done. It's amazing how a little planning and fabrication can make the work easier. I like the idea of the bucket seats - do not think I have ever seen that done. One of these days we should start a thread of our homemade/modified equipment for small farms. I bet there are a lot of brilliant ideas floating out there.


RE: Garlic planting

That's alot of garlic. Could you attachment the roller to the back of your tractor? Might save a few more minutes.

RE: Garlic planting

Very nice! I like the dibbler. I knew another market garden grower who built something like that. There wasn't as many dibbles, but it is cheap and with the right tools, easy to build.

You could build several different barrels for different crops, if you wanted too.

Did you till the whole area and then just drive to compact your paths down and leave the raised beds?

Wish I had ground cleared to plant garlic. The pig weeds got away from me this year. I need to mow them off and then see what to do.


RE: Garlic planting

Just curious, but is there a great advantage to planting so early? I always try to get it in the middle of Oct. One year, I couldn't get it in until December, and it did almost as well as my usual October plantings. I don't know what happened, but the worst garlic I EVER raised was last year. It was an exceptionally mild winter with a horrendously cold, wet spring and early summer. I also planted it near a fencerow, which may be pulling too many nutrients away and providing too much shade.

RE: Garlic planting

i like the planting. very well thought out. but i don't plant garlic until around halloween in zone 7a. if planted now the garlic puts on a lot of growth until it gets cold enough to freeze the tops.not sure if that makes a difference.

RE: Garlic planting

I'm in zone 8 here and the winter temps rarely go below 20F. I've never lost the garlic tops to a freeze even in the worst years.

Usually I plant sometime in early October, but in years like this when the fall rains come early i've planted as early as Sept. 15th and had good results.

For me it's important to get the garlic planted before steady rain sets in. That way the the roots are established and the garlic won't wash away if there is any flooding. Also, there's a point in the fall when I can't use the rototiller anymore due to saturation. I try to get the overwintering plantings done and the cover crop seed sown before my tractor gets shut out.

And maybe the most important reason is that it's one less thing that I have to do this fall......

Also, Jay, yes the semi-raised beds are from driving the tractor to mark the bed widths.


RE: Garlic planting

before i had hoophouses/high tunnel fall was relaxing time. now it seems like the fall pressure to get things planted is as much as the spring pressure to do the same then.
i believe we could sell a lot of elephant garlic (regular garlic floods the market here)but not sure we can get it planted.

RE: Garlic planting

Mark, are plans available online for the rolling dibbler?

There might well not be, so here are a few fabrication questions about the dibbler's construction:

First, what have you done for the axle and the hubs? (Axle is steel pipe, I presume - or tube steel?) Does it just turn in holes in the sheet metal of the bottom and lid? Or did you use something there to reduce wear, over time? What about limiting side-to-side slippage of the drum within the lengths of tubing you used as part of the frame sections that connect to the cross-piece.handles?

Second, what are the dibbles made from? Again, I'd guess steel pipe sections, or steel tube. What diameter?

You welded the dibbles to the drum - I presume you used a MIG welder, with small-gauge wire?


RE: Garlic planting

  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 27, 13 at 19:30


I like the ugliest thing you have ever made
Is the weight of it enough or do you need to fill it with water?

Thnx. Rina

RE: Garlic planting

Thanks for the comments folks.
Quick answer about the water. No it doesn't need any additional weight to mark the holes.

Second. The axle is the same galvanized conduit tubing the handles are made from. I'm pretty sure it's 1".

I drilled holes on either end of the drum and welded on some beefy washers with holes wide enough for the tubing to slide through. The washers will take wear off the thin drum metal and keep it from squeeking too much while rolling. I considered bearings, but it doesn't really get used all that much.
To keep the axle in place I drilled small holes through the conduit, just outside the welded washer and pushed a cotter pin through on either side.

The dibbles are the same conduit, welded with my stick welder set on low. Towards the end of the welding I wasn't burning through the drum or conduit nearly as much as in the beginning..........I would have preferred to use MIG but don't have one and stubbornly didn't want to take it all over to my neighbors shop.

Hope this helps,

RE: Garlic planting

Nice gadget. Any relation to Cut-me-own-throat Dibbler? (Pratchett)

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