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Garlic friendly cover crops?

 
Chadwick Holmes
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So traditional info is that garlic can't compete with weeds, I am wondering if anyone has used cover crops successfully with garlic? If so what worked, and for that matter what didn't!

 
Darin Colville
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One of the classic garlic cover crops is oats planted in late August. They freeze down, die and become mulch for crop. Have raised beautiful garlic following buckwheat turned into soil at bloom stage also.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Thanks Darin, maybe living mulch is a better term....trying to loose the dead garlic bed look and get more life in there.
 
Darin Colville
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Radishes maybe?
 
Davis Bonk
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Peas and beans are stunted by garlic and shouldn't be planted near it according to the little bit I've been reading about companion planting. Maybe a low pea could be seeded in the the spring and left alone untrellissed and unpicked. It would get stunted by the garlic. It would die once it warms up. You could collect the seeds or till it in after you harvest and hope some peas come up in the fall.
 
Hans Harker
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I've planted some garlic last fall and and it began to shoot green few weeks back. I'm planing on growing it with carrots, parsley and peppers (with wood chips as mulch) and see how it goes. But that would not be considered cover crop and will require some weeding. The only thing i can think of in terms of cover crop for garlic would be strawberries. From what i read the are compatible with garlic. plus they don't grow high enough to suppress it and definitely could cover the ground dense enough.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Strawberries, that's a thought.....hmmmm.

I have 10,000 garlic plants covering 1/10 of an acre, so......I was thinking on the lines of white clover etc
 
Hans Harker
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Chadwick Holmes wrote: I was thinking on the lines of white clover etc



The theoretical objection that comes to mind is that since garlic is known to suppress the growth of some legumes clover might not do so great with it either. But that's just theory…
 
Davis Bonk
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So overseed legumes so they choke out the weeds and themselves but can't compete with the garlic. I think I'm gonna give this a shot. Its still gonna require cultivation and or mulch around the plants.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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I've been asking around and I've only found one person who grows garlic with a cover, they said it did fine. But that's asking a ton of folks.....
 
Hans Harker
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Davis Bonk wrote:So overseed legumes so they choke out the weeds and themselves but can't compete with the garlic. I think I'm gonna give this a shot. Its still gonna require cultivation and or mulch around the plants.


It could work but i feel like that'd be sort of an anti-guild. I dunno.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I have very successful market garlic beds (heavily mulched with hay) that have been grown in beds that held dense crops of field peas the previous year ( the first year of the garden, from a tilled feral meadow), but the beds were not tilled after the peas and will not be tilled again. I am also experimenting with other beds, but can't claim success with them yet. I do what I call selective weeding in my beds. In these beds I do weed out most other plants (mostly daisies, grasses, any thistle, horsetail, and hedge nettle), but although I do weed some of the following, I leave dandelions, some clover, as well as some lambsquarters and a bit of chickweed (but i don't let it get too crowded, generally). I give my garlic 7 to 9 inch spacing for max production, but space them around the dandelions as well. I even left a lambsquarters plant right beside a garlic head to see if it would decrease the size of the bulb. The lambsquarters was huge, growing to full size and multiple seed heads and nearly twice the height of the garlic. I pulled up the garlic and found that it was not much affected by the close proximity (it was not the largest garlic in the bed, but it was in the large category). I plant my large garlic, sell my medium garlic (which is as large as most local large garlic), and eat or trade my small garlic. I am hoping to experiment with planting directly into living leguminous crops like red or white clover, which I doubt would be significantly set back by garlic for long. In fact, I think that I might have to chop and drop a bit of the clover to ensure that the garlic has enough room (though I might experiment with planting directly and not opening space, hoping that the different root systems, and especially different plant heights might allow the garlic to flourish in the nitrogen rich environment.
 
S Bengi
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Garlic contains a powerful soil microbe suppressant. 'Bad' microbes that usually antagonize strawberry root and thus ensure a horrible harvest and 'good' microbes that colonize legume root are equally afflicted by the allicin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allicina one of the 4 Horseman of 4HourBody
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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This wasn't the best cover crop to use with garlic (some type of goosefoot I think)... But I still harvested more than what went into the ground, so that's a win...

Oops: Forgot to weed the garlic!


Harvesting it anyway:


 
Davis Bonk
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Would winter rye take over garlic? I still have some fall green manure mix from Johnny's. Otherwise it shouldn't be hard to screen out the peas then screen the clover from the rye.
 
Jessica Padgham
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I tried a rye/vetch blend last year and got concerned that it was going to take over. It was a smallish patch, just 2# worth so I cut the rye by hand a couple times then I ended up yanking it all and laying it down as mulch. Of course after seeing Josephs pictures I'm curious what would have happened if I left it.

I've been wondering if a crop like winter rye or annual rye planted between the rows of garlic and then crimped would work in smaller settings. One of my daydreams is to find or create a crimper for backyard scale covercrops.
 
Christine Wilcox
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I have had success with crimson clover inter cropped with my garlic. I like crimson clover inter cropped in many of my annual beds because, in Alaska, it doesn't get too tall and it winter kills. And the bees love it. So do snowshoe hare, so we are seriously fenced, for a number of reasons.
 
Casie Becker
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I've got a couple of garlic cloves planted with my dill, this year. I don't have much history growing garlic (very small heads the one year I tried) but I can let people know how it does after this season.

I'm hoping that the extra shade (and later the shade from vining melons and squash with roots far from the garlic) will help it continue to grow later into our warm season. It will still be a very local result. I think the intensity of our sun means the garlic won't suffer from semi-shade conditions.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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I would agree Cassie, keeping them cool is your task!
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Would winter rye take over garlic?
This would depend on your spacing.

I could see a person drilling a pattern between wide spaced garlic in which the rye would come up only there. It would be quite simple but would be hand planted rye seeds into the drill holes. That would be a little time consuming, but if you were looking to create a living cover, that could be the way to not have it affect the garlic crop too much at all. Here's how:

I would do this by figuring out my garlic spacing. For me, in my climate and soil, 9 inch spacing really seems to be the magic minimum for the biggest heads. So then I would try to figure out what the best rye spacing is, and then divide the gap between garlic to have as many rye plants as possible without them rooting right on the bulbs. My large Russian heads are 3.5 inches across. That makes it 1.75 inches on either side into the 9 inches that I want rye root free--leaving 5.5 inches. So given this spacing I would create a planting board. To do this take a piece of plywood 3/4inch thick, cut to fit 5.5 inches and whatever diagonal dimension works for the next row. Then drill the plywood halfway through with a 1/2 inch drill bit in the pattern that you want the rye to be planted between the garlic. I would put wood glue in the holes and then I would cut 1/2 inch dowel 2 inches long and pound these little pegs into the holes. Once the glue is set, the planting board is ready, with 1.5 inch dowels projecting out one side and the other flat. A couple small holes can be put in either side, and a loop of twine put through each pair of the holes on each end. Push the dowel pegs into the garden bed with your foot, pull it up with the string loops, and move to the next garlic gap; push it in again and have someone dropping rye into the holes behind you, or do it yourself. The planting holes have an amazing microclimate. The seeds do not need to be covered or watered, but you can water it now if you like. You could even soak or fully sprout the rye ahead of time. The next rain will drop a bit of soil in for you. The lightly pressed bottom of the hole is concentrated topsoil, ideal for the seed to work in with no air beneath the seed, but a great place for a bit of water to accumulate for the seed.

Additionally, a board could be built that was much larger, and had deeper larger pegs at the right spacing for a number of garlic cloves, and a competent person could plant both at one time, while standing or kneeling on the board, with a bowl of each on the board. The larger board would have the added bonus of spreading out the person's weight over the soil surface to greatly reduce overall compaction issues, which might happen with a smaller board.

 
Roberto pokachinni
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Of course at 10,000 plants... it might be a bit out of the question without squirrels working for you.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I've always wanted to try planting garlic in permanent strawberry beds. I also like the idea of planting melon (in my area, squash/pumpkin) type vines to the side and allowing the vines into the crop. This could work well with garlic, and with strawberries I think, from my experience. By the time the vines got really going, the strawberries would be done, and the garlic might be tall enough and strong enough to handle it. The only problem is a heavy squash being in the garlic patch. hmmm.
 
Tony Kopari
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Has anyone tried using moth beans as a cover crop?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigna_aconitifolia

https://www.bountifulgardens.org/products/VBE-2370

 
Kristin Bennett
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:I've always wanted to try planting garlic in permanent strawberry beds.  I also like the idea of planting melon (in my area, squash/pumpkin) type vines to the side and allowing the vines into the crop.  This could work well with garlic, and with strawberries I think, from my experience.  By the time the vines got really going, the strawberries would be done, and the garlic might be tall enough and strong enough to handle it.  The only problem is a heavy squash being in the garlic patch.  hmmm.    


Me too! I just finished planting my garlic elsewhere, and I've been wondering what made sense to plant in the strawberry beds over the winter. Did you do this? Planting the garlic in your strawberry bed? I'm curious about the squash too...I have had the most success using the 3 sisters technique, but want my other beds to be friendly combinations of plants too!

Would love to hear how it went for you!

Kristin
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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One of my close collaborators allows the dandelion weeds to grow in the row with her garlic. That's a combination that works really well.

 
David Hernick
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I have had the best success intercropping garlic with lettuce and mache/ corn salad.  Carrots are a very traditional companion for alliums.  White clover may work well if you seed the outer edge of the beds, this way it may be easier to clear away clover near the heads closer to the time of harvest, since it is best if they have good air circulation around them.

I found a good image that shows the explanation for intercropping alliums with things like lettuce, arugula, radishes, and carrots.  Garlic has roots that spread out like a fan, so there is less competition with plants that have tap roots.   There are explanation that go further than that for specific combinations like carrots and onions, but I find the image most helpful.
I found the image I am attaching here:
http://www.nzdl.org/gsdlmod?e=d-00000-00---off-0fnl2.2--00-0----0-10-0---0---0direct-10---4-----sti--0-1l--11-en-50---20-about-dryland--00-0-1-00---4-4---0-0-11-11-0utfZz-8-00-10&cl=search&d=HASH0150ba4e9f73176fac50b5ae.7.4>=2
Onion-intercrop.gif
[Thumbnail for Onion-intercrop.gif]
 
William Bronson
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The clover/ garlic combo seems brilliant.
A cover crop that fixes nitrogen,suppresses most plants but us suppressed by the cash crop?
Sign me up!
I have garlic and onions growing all over the "lawn" as it is,but I only harvest the greens so the bulbs might be puny...
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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