For the no-till garlic demonstration that is part of EFAO’s No-Till Vegetable Trials, Ken Laing planted garlic on November 1, 2019 into a frost-killed cover crop of sorghum-sudangrass.  Plots were 48” x 120”, with 4 rows 12″ apart. Ken planted the plots by hand, but this fall he will try machine planting.

 

In April 2020, he top-dressed with 1 ton/ac organic pelleted hen manure. The plots received no mechanical or hand weeding since planting (see photos below).

 

In July, 2020 he harvested the plots. Ken did not collect data on size, but from his observations he saw that bulbs are somewhat smaller from the notill plot compared to garlic grown using Orchard Hill Farm’s standard production of 36″ rows with tillage for weed control (photos below). Nevertheless, Ken estimates total yield was 7,500 lb/ac (dried 20 days and top removed). Typical yields in Ontario are 2,000-4,000 lb/ac. (OMAFRA publication 363).

 

This side-by-side demonstration shows that notill garlic production could offer good yield with considerable reduction in production costs with the elimination or reduction of mulching costs and weed control.

No-till garlic plot planted into winter-killed sorghum-sudangrass. Ken observed very good weed control by the cover crop mulch, without any additional mechanical or hand weeding. Photo taken June 14, 2020.

Scapes starting to emerge. Photo taken June 14, 2020.

Garlic bulbs from no–till plot (trimmed, left) compared to garlic grown using tillage for feed control (untrimmed, right). With no mechanical or hand weeding, yielded well. Photo take July 2020.

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