Garlic Comparison: Raised Bed VS Ground Planting

by Charlotte Walker
Garlic Comparison: Raised Bed VS Ground Planting

When planting a cash crop it can be beneficial to plant test beds using a combination of methods. This will provide an opportunity to observe, track  and compare different methods. These comparisons can be invaluable in making future decisions on how to best manage your cash crop operation.

We are starting with a fairly small crop of garlic and working on growing more seed stock. We have two different test scenarios. The first crop is planted in a raised bed setting and the second in a large field. Both were treated the same in most aspects other than location. There is a notable difference in the development of the garlic in the raised beds when compared to the in ground crop. They should both grow up big and lovely, but the raised beds will likely be harvested three weeks ahead of the in ground crop. When timing is a factor, this could be really valuable. That’s not to say that we are going to build an acre of raised beds but I sort of wish we could!

Here are the specifics:

  • The raised bed has a loamier soil, there is not much clay content in it.
  • The ground has a more nutritious yet heavier clay soil. It has been amended with peat, manure and other natural materials but it is still quite heavy in comparison to the raised bed.
  • Both crops were planted in late September.
  • They were both covered with a heavy layer of straw mulch for winter protection.
  • They were both treated with a light dressing of manure

Garlic Comparison: Photos Taken on May 26th 2017

I find details like this really interesting so I thought it was worth documenting and sharing as part of our garlic growing journey. We will keep you apprised of everything related to garlic as the summer progresses. You might also enjoy reading:How to Plant, Grow, Cure & Store Garlic.

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1 comment

Desmond Jones June 3, 2017 - 3:28 pm

Excellent piece… I am growing a so-called “Russian Purple” var. here in S. Central Montana. First time; excellent results so far (early June). My approach is somewhat of a combination ground/planting bed. I dug a trench almost like planting asparagus, added lots of compost, coffee grounds, grass clippings and aged chicken manure. Planted about five inches deep and covered with @ six inches of weed-free straw. It was a cold winter here with pretty good snow — but the garlic came busting through before just about everything else in a very wet, cold Spring. ETA around August — you can never take the weather for granted here in Montana. Can’t wait for my first “pesto” and “chicken with forty cloves of garlic”.

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