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Caring for Garlic in the Spring


One of the first plants I look for is the emerging tips of the garlic as they spring from the beds.  Garlic is a pretty easy crop to grow, other than it requires winter vernalization (cold treatment for proper growth).  My garlic was planted under a bed last fall with a small amount of blended fertilizer added as the plant developed roots.  Then we covered it with a nice layer of clean weed-free straw as the bulbs can't freeze.  As the garlic pokes out we have to consider the temps when deciding when to uncover or open the mulch layer up as frost can burn the tips or the plant setting it back.  Generally, the garlic will be fine down to about 25-26 degrees F without much problem, but leaving the mulch on until we are through that period would be recommended.  I think now is finally the time to pull the mulch layer back.  At the same time, I would suggest applying fertilizer that must contain Nitrogen, Sulfur and Phosphorus, and Potassium (if needed). Then watch them grow and maintain any weed competition.  


Troy Salzer

Extension Educator

University of Minnesota Extension

St. Louis County

Office 218-749-7120  Cell 218-591-0478


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