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What to do if garlic has managed to sprout before winter: how to save the crop

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Mulching can protect sprouted garlic from frost

Planting garlic in the fall allows you to reduce the amount of gardening work after the winter season and get the harvest earlier. But in this case, there is one risk: the vegetable can germinate earlier than planned, even before the onset of cold weather. Because of this, the plant can die if you do not take measures to protect it in time.

OBOZ.UA asked experienced gardeners for advice on how to protect garlic seedlings from frost. And they say that this situation is not hopeless at all.

Why garlic can sprout early

The first reason is the mistake of the gardener who sowed the winter crop too early. This usually happens to those who have no experience with growing vegetables in this way. Another good reason is abnormal weather. Garlic can germinate if the fall was very warm. This stimulates the plant to sprout, but winter still comes sooner or later and they can die due to frost.

How to protect winter garlic

To prevent the seedlings from dying from the cold, they need to be covered with mulch before the frost. As soon as the weather forecast warns that the temperature will drop below freezing in the next day, the bed should be mulched immediately.

You can use any available material from this list or something similar as mulch:

  • fallen leaves, provided that they are not affected by fungus and other infections;
  • shredded straw that has begun to rot (fresh straw takes nitrogen from the soil)
  • hay;
  • dried peat - not fresh;
  • sawdust, optimally mixed with pine needles to repel mice;
  • spruce branches - healthy and without spots;
  • onion husks - use them as an additive to the main mulch if you need to protect your crops from insects that may live on the soil.

The layer of mulch should be about 7 cm and ideally should be laid out in dry weather to prevent the vegetables from getting moldy and rotting under it. You can protect it from the wind by covering it with agrofiber. But don't forget to press the edges with something heavy. If you have acidic soil in your garden, do not use sawdust, pine needles, or peat.

Ultimately, such protection will create an optimal microclimate for the garlic to overwinter. But in the spring, don't forget to remove the mulch so that the garden bed starts to receive enough sunlight and heat for germination.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA published a gardening calendar for December 2023.

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