Preparing the garden for garlic in the fall.
Garlic is a popular, healthy and very unpretentious crop, therefore it is grown in almost every vegetable garden. It gives dishes a piquant spicy taste; it is added to salads and soups, to meat dishes, as well as pickles and marinades when preserved. The phytoncides secreted by garlic have antibacterial and antiviral effects, so it is useful to use it for colds, and also as a prophylactic agent against diseases. But novice gardeners often forget that the unpretentiousness of the culture does not mean a complete lack of care. Therefore, if you expect to get a good harvest, you must first carry out a series of preparatory work: choose a place for planting garlic, taking into account the rules of crop rotation, determine the quality of the soil and prepare it by adding the necessary additives and fertilizers. Only in this case, with properly carried out preparatory work, garlic does not require special care during the growth process, and you will get an excellent harvest.
Choosing between winter and spring garlic.
Before starting the preparatory work, decide what kind of garlic you will plant: winter or spring. There is no fundamental difference in taste between them (winter garlic is sharper, but the taste of spring garlic will be softer), they differ only in the size and number of cloves, as well as in the timing of planting.
Winter garlic is planted in autumn and is one of the first to germinate in the garden in spring. The head consists of large lobules, the number of which can be from 4 to 12 pieces. But the cloves of spring garlic are smaller and in one head around the stem there can be 20-25 pieces of them. winter garlic is less suitable for long-term storage, but spring garlic is remarkably preserved for several months. The ideal option would be to plant both types of garlic in order to determine which one you like best, so further we will discuss how to prepare a place for winter garlic, according to the same principle in the spring you can to plant and spring, if the need arises.
Site selection and soil preparation.
Like the vast majority of garden crops, garlic prefers a sunny location, so the garden bed should be located in an open space, and not along the fence or in the shade of trees. Also, you can not place a bed in a lowland, since in the spring melting snow can lead to excessive moisture in the earth and cause decay of the planting material.
In the requirements for the state of acidity of the soil, garlic is also not original - it grows well in neutral soil or in soil with low acidity. In dense and acidic soils, it is difficult for garlic to assimilate nutrients, in this case no fertilizers will help, the plant will grow very slowly and a good harvest cannot be expected.
Therefore, before you start preparing the garden bed where the garlic will be planted, you need to set the acidity level. You can do this with the help of a special device, or in the absence of it, resort to proven folk methods:
- Take a closer look at what weeds are most common on your site? Plantain, buttercup and horsetail grow in acidic soil. But if you devote most of your time to fighting nettles and loaches, as well as a lot of clover and coltsfoot under your feet, then the acidity of the soil is low, and perhaps you are lucky and the soil is neutral, therefore, any garden crop is suitable.
- You can also determine the quality of the soil using regular table vinegar. Dig a small hole and cover the soil with vinegar. If bubbles appear and you hear a soft hiss, then the soil is normal, there is a sufficient percentage of lime, which provided the chemical reaction that you observed. But if nothing happens, then the acidity level is quite high, and before planting anything on this land, it must be deoxidized by adding dolomite, chalk or slaked lime (but keep in mind that the deoxidation process will take more than one year).
- And one more folk method, for which it is necessary to prepare an infusion of currant leaves (black). In such an infusion, you need to throw a handful of earth and see how the color of the liquid changes:
After you find out the acidity level, it will become clear whether you can continue with the preparatory work, or you will have to do deoxidation and postpone planting garlic.
When choosing a place for garlic, do not forget about crop rotation. If you expect to get a good harvest on a regular basis, you need to plant all crops in a new place every year, carefully selecting predecessors and neighbors. It is not recommended to plant garlic where carrots, turnips, radishes or potatoes grew in front of it. It is best to plant it after zucchini or squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers or eggplants - it is these precursors that have a beneficial effect on the soil for garlic.
When to start preparing the garden? In this matter, it all depends on the climate of the area in which you live: in cold areas with short summers and early frosts, you can start preparatory work and planting in the third decade of August. In the middle lane, before winter, garlic is planted in the last days of September or in the first decade of October. And in the south of the country, these works can be postponed until November.
When you dig up the ground and remove all plant residues, you need to apply fertilizers: compost (humus, horse manure), ash, chalk or slaked lime, as well as potash and phosphorus fertilizers. After you distribute all this over the surface, the earth must be dug up again so that the nutrients are at a depth of about 20 cm, from where the roots of the plants will absorb them.
When forming a bed, it is better to adhere to the following dimensions: a width of about a meter (you can make it narrower, but it is not recommended wider), a height of at least 25 cm (you can make a higher one if it is more convenient for you), and the length completely depends on your desire and on site capabilities. After you dig up the soil with fertilizers, water the garden bed and wait a few days for the soil to settle a little, do not plant the garlic right away, otherwise it will end up being too deep, which will negatively affect its growth in the future.
In addition to fertilizing, it is necessary to carry out preventive soil treatment with means that protect the plant from the development of fungal diseases. To cultivate the land before planting garlic, you can use the preparations Topsin-M, Fitosporin, Ridomil Gold, Acrobat. All these drugs are highly effective in the fight against fungal diseases, they perfectly disinfect the soil and do not conflict with other chemicals.
In addition to ready-made chemicals, you can treat the soil with more familiar means: potassium permanganate, copper sulfate, boric acid or Bordeaux mixture. The manganese solution should be bright crimson (10 grams per ten-liter bucket), the dosage for preparing a solution of copper sulfate is 20 grams per five liters of water. To prepare a complex solution for ten liters of liquid, take 10 grams of manganese, copper sulfate, boric acid. And to prepare a solution of Bordeaux mixture, you need to dissolve 50 g in 5 liters of water.
Also, in order to prevent diseases, you can use folk methods and prepare infusions or decoctions of herbs. For this, calendula, yarrow, marigolds, wormwood are suitable. By watering the soil with such infusions, you will contribute to the subsidence of the soil before planting, you will disinfect it, while you will not use chemicals, which means that your future harvest will remain environmentally friendly. After watering with a prophylactic agent, cover the bed with foil, fix it around the edges and leave it in this form until the time comes to plant the garlic.
The more thoroughly you prepare the soil, the more comfortable your plants will be, and, accordingly, the better the yield.
How to prepare planting material and planting correctly.
Now that you have completed all the preparatory work on the garden bed, you can start preparing the cloves of garlic that you plan to plant. You can plant not only garlic cloves, but also the bulbs that form on the arrow after flowering.
For planting, select the strongest cloves that have no traces of disease or mechanical damage, the future harvest depends on the quality of the planting material. Carefully cut off the bottom of all teeth, it will only hinder the growth of the culture. It is desirable that all the cloves are about the same size, but if it is not possible to find the same planting material, then sort it by size and plant it like that.
Then, about seven days before planting, you need to start disinfecting the cloves of garlic, for this you need to prepare a weak solution of manganese, dip the cloves into it and leave for a day. In addition to potassium permanganate disinfection, you can use a solution of copper sulfate or a solution of wood ash. At the end of the preventive treatment, the cloves should be dried.
Now that everything is ready, it's time to remove the shelter from the beds and plant the garlic. Make furrows in the bed about 10-12 cm deep at a distance of 30-35 cm from each other. Pour sand at the bottom of the furrows, water gently and lay out the garlic cloves (the sharp part should look up) with an interval of ten centimeters. Then backfill the furrows and mulch the surface. As mulch, you can use compost, coniferous litter and spruce branches, fallen dry leaves, sawdust or straw. Most importantly, do not forget to remove the mulch in time in the spring so that the garlic begins to grow.
If, when planting, you do not use cloves of garlic, but bulbs, then the depth of the groove should be about 5 cm, otherwise the process is no different (wet sand to the bottom of the groove and mulching from above).
Any good harvest starts with proper soil preparation and planting material. Paying attention to crop rotation, the introduction of the necessary fertilizers and preventive cultivation of the land and planting material, you thereby make life easier for both plants and yourself, significantly reducing labor costs. With the necessary knowledge, you can competently carry out all the preparatory and planting work and, as a result, harvest an excellent harvest of winter garlic.