March garlic hint
March is the time to prepare your beds for planting in March or April depending on garlic varieties chosen.
- Choose a site with full sun which is well drained. If not well drained or the soil is heavy, build a raised bed. Do not grow garlic where you have previously grown it for the past 2 years.
- Weed thoroughly as garlic dislikes competition.
- Test the pH. It needs to be between 6 -7. Add dolomite if it is below 5.8 (too acidic).
- Dig over to at least a spade’s depth removing rocks and twigs and breaking up clods.
- Add organic matter such as compost or well decomposed manure (not poultry manure as it is too high in nitrogen).
- Add rock dust for trace elements.
- Water well so that your soil is moist and not water repellant. Don’t prepare it then leave it to dry out. Preferably lay dripline between your rows. You will plant cloves 15 cm apart in rows 15 cm apart so your dripline needs to be spaced at 15 cm intervals.
- Buy sugar cane mulch to mulch at planting time.
- If you wish to give your garlic a false winter (vernalisation), then put garlic heads (don’t divide them into cloves) into the fridge in a brown paper bag for 30 – 40 days.
Written by Robin Gale-Baker