Early spring is the best time for weeding garlic patches

Watch following YouTube video for keeping garlic weed free

Watch this YouTube video for keeping garlic weed free

Garlic is generally planted in weed free plots in late fall season that is in October or November when temperature starts cooling down (Photo 1). Planted garlic cloves generally start sprouting and developing their roots within 7-8 days. At the same time some winter-hardy weeds also start germinating and growing in the same garlic patch. However, the growth of both the garlic plants and weeds is generally slow due to extremely cold temperatures, sporadic frosts or even precipitation of snow during winter. 

Photo 1. Planted garlic cloves

The growth of both garlic plants and winter- hardy weeds will resume as soon as temperature starts warming up early in the spring. At the same time some cool- and warm- season weeds will also start germinating and growing in the garlic patch (Photo 2). If these growing weeds are not removed before the onset of the spring season, they will overtake the garlic plants and compete with garlic seedlings for space, moisture and nutrients that in turn can affect the growth of garlic plants as well as the size of garlic bulbs (Photo 3). Therefore, it is important to keep garlic patches weed free so that garlic plants will grow healthy without any competition throughout the growing season. 

Photo 2. Cool- season weeds are growing with garlic seedlings in early spring.
Photo 3. Garlic plants are overtaken by cool- season weeds.

Weeding is very easy in the early growth phase of garlic plants because of small sized plants that will not break easily while you are weeding in the garlic patches. Therefore, early April is the best time to weed garlic patches whenever there are sunny and warm days. To keep garlic patch weed free, make sure to remove all the growing weeds frequently from the garlic patch until harvesting of garlic is done. 

Weeding can be easily done by pulling weeds by hand or using different types of hand hoes (Photo 4). The disadvantages of pulling weeds by hand is that it is difficult to pull the whole weed plant out from the ground and the remaining part of the stem may start regrowing. Therefore, use hand hoes for weeding the garlic patch. 

Photo 4. Hand hoes for weeding

Then dump all the removed weeds in the compost pit where they will turn into compost that can be used as organic fertilizer containing essential macro- and micronutrients in the next growing season.

 Weeded garlic patch will boost the growth of garlic plants that in turn can produce healthy large sized garlic bulbs (Photo 5).

Photo 5. Weed free healthy garlic plants and harvested large size bulbs