Soil Temperures

Summer of 2021 has proposed many challenges to garlic growers! With the exceptionally hot summer, plants are threatening to shut down sooner, earlier harvest etc! We have had many emails about garlic shutting down, or early harvest, and some very good results in spite of hot weather. I would like to share with you the secret to why our garlic won’t be harvested until about Aug 15! It’s all about keeping soil temperatures in a low-stress zone where soil moisture is conserved, microbial community underneath (that contribute to soil health) aren’t cremated and therefore healthy garlic! I took soil temps in three very different areas on a very typical 2021 31C summer day. One of the temps is taken from a black soil area of my rain-neglected but faithfully rototilled garden where I am pretending to grow some veggies. For ex, leaf-curling tomatoes, some wilting semi baked-potatoes, crispy-fried peas and corn that is tassling at 3 ft tall and may be fodder for the gophers if they aren’t too picky. The other two temps are taken in our garlic field where we mulch very faithfully, (a hot yr several years ago taught us this expensive lesson) with what we can provide with woodchips and the rest wheat straw. Amazing, cool, moist soil and the picture is worth a 1000 words. Between 18-20C 60-70F are the mulched areas soil temps (and the probe sunk in easily), and the black soil temps were 40C/100F and because it is rototilled, it has that lovely hard-pan down not very far, that if it did ever drop some of that wet stuff from the sky (it’s been so long we kind of forget what it’s like!), it turns into a swimming pool of soup and doesn’t infiltrate down. We do not rototill or “work” our garlic fields-havent for four yrs. Soil health, biological healthy microbial community is what we are trying to support. We love the many emails of beautiful, healthy garlic that others are growing and reaping from our stock! Now, I am a bit surprised even on the U of S site that proposes benefits of mulching and number one is less weeding or weed control. Gulp. We can flatly disagree and weeds are there in abundance, but they pull out so easily in comparison to black soil, and looooong roots with it. The number one benefit of anything shouldn’t be less weeding. Weeds are an indicator of the health of your soil. We see water regulation and conservation as the number one benefit of mulching as water is the most vital nutrient required by plants. Mulch allows the soil temperatures to be in the healthy, low-stress zone. Stressed plants are susceptible to airborne and soilborn diseases. Cremated biology in the soil cannot help you either if they don’t exist. We put up with later spring emergence for the pay off of healthy garlic and decent bulb size on a hot year. In a small plot of garlic, one could pull back all the mulch in April to have it come up 2 wks sooner, and then put it all back as it comes up, but unless you planted it half way to China, it will still come up if you don’t, just a little later, and harvest will still happen. That’s OK.

We will start sending out orders the very end of August.

Our shopping cart has been humming steady and our orders are currently higher than any previous year! Get your order in soon as last year we sold out mid September!

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