Transplanting garlic is an easy task, but vital to the health of the garlic plants. Walking the property in Spring, I realized I did not harvest a lot of our garlic bulbs last year. They all sprouted over winter. This was quite the surprise, just when I thought that we didn’t plant enough last Fall. I am now over run with garlic starts. They all just need dug up and divided.
Deciding on where to transplant
Over the winter, the chickens did a great job of tearing up and turning over last year’s Zinnia bed. This is where I am transplanting the garlic. You want a place where you can plant and leave alone. Since we still have to add amendments to the other gardens, the Zinnia bed will be the safest place.
I used a regular sized shovel, small shovel, a hoe and a bin to put the starts in. You don’t need any special tools. Whatever you have will get the job done.
Begin transplanting Garlic
The first thing I did was take a look at the overall picture of the old garlic bed. Then decided exactly what plant clusters I was going to dig up. Since I will not be transplanting all of the clusters, it is important to choose the healthier starts.
Carefully dig up the garlic clusters. Do not try to dig right next to the cluster of garlic. Be sure to give them a little extra room. You want to do as little damage to the roots as possible. Place the cluster in your bin. Once your bin is full, it is time to transplant them to the new garlic bed.
Time to plant in the new bed
Once you move everything to the new location, pick up a cluster of garlic and carefully massage the roots, then slowly pull apart. In the ground, being so close together, the roots will all grow into each other. I try to be as careful as possible. No matter how careful you are, some of the roots will get torn and that is ok.
Dig a small hole, 2 inches by 2 inches deep will be sufficient. Place your garlic start into the hole and cover the remaining hole with dirt. Gently press the dirt down and make sure your garlic start is standing upright and stays stable, will not fall over.
Cover with mulch
Continue this process until all of your garlic starts are transplanted. Cover with your preferred mulch of choice. I like to use straw, just make sure your straw does not contain any herbicide. It will kill your garden. I have never ran into that issue, but I have heard of other homesteaders warn others and had problems in their gardens.
I also added a temporary fence to keep my chickens out, as they will free range a bit over the next month until the gardens are planted. They see fresh dirt and think of nothing but worms and bugs.
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