Mulching garlic

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by BearCreekFarm, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    Another quick garlic question-

    In zone 3 (MN) how long after planting garlic should it be mulched? We had our first frost last night, and there is a possibility of snow on Wed night, definitely temps around 25 deg overnight.
  2. RLStewart

    RLStewart Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    NW PA
    I always mulch mine as soon as I plant it. Never really gave it much thought though. I'll be interested to see what others do.

  3. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    May 9, 2002
    South Central Wisconsin
    Doesn't matter when the mulch is applied as long as it's done before winter's extreme cold sets in. It's really not needed at all until late winter or early spring when freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw cycles begin. Unless at least a foot of leaves or two feet of straw is used, there will still be frost quite deep in Far North soil. What the mulch does is to let the soil thaw gradually by not allowing the sun to warm it. If not, the freeze-thaw cycles will push the clove or bulb upward and tear the roots off. Thus most winterkill actually happens in the early spring.

    In my home garden, all garlic gets several inches of shredded leaves and that's whenever the leaves are available. In the farm field, the entire field gets 3 inches of straw right after planting. Leaves or straw, both seem equally effective in helping to prevent winterkill.

  4. northstarpermie

    northstarpermie Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    Northern Minnesota
    I did my first planting of garlic last fall. I mulched it right away, but I do that with everything I plant(Ruth Stout's method). I had great success. I just recently planted my garlic & mulched again. Their are people up here who don't mulch until after the first couple of frosts, so I wouldn't worry about it. Paquebot did a great job at explaining what actually kills your plants in the winter. I plant my onions early in the spring & they get snowed on at least a couple times before it warms up. I have found they actually grow better that way.