Should I remove the mulch from my field of garlic?

It’s April, and spring is finally here. As we look over our fields of garlic, get our tools and tractors ready and prepare for the heat, we’re also happy to answer some of your questions!

Should I remove the mulch that I put over my Quebec garlic in the fall?

First of all, it’s not necessary to remove the mulch from the field of garlic. As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult to remove mulch from 20 acres of land, only to have to put it back later! At le Petit Mas, we don’t cover anymore all our acres. That would be too expensive and take too much time at fall! To have both, gaves us a serious advantage as harvest period of garlic scape and garlic is expanded.

Effectively, when the ground is still thawing, the soil under the mulch takes longer to thaw because it’s protected from direct sunlight. Since the soil is colder, the sprouting will be slower. The garlic could take an extra 1 to 2 weeks to come out of the ground and poke out through the mulch. 

If your Quebec garlic is already poking out through the mulch, the ground has thawed and you can leave the mulch where it is.

Using mulch also presents a major challenge: the thickness of the layer of mulch. If the layer of mulch is not thick enough, it will be effective against frost but not against weeds. If the layer of mulch is too thick, it will smother and kill the garlic. If you put down a really thick layer of mulch or a geotextile fabric without holes, it would be better to remove them in the spring.

Lastly, if the ground is still frozen and you only have a few rows of garlic in your garden, you can remove and set aside the mulch and put it back later (to smother weeds and retain moisture). It’s up to you to decide whether you’re a gardener or a laidback gardener.

Happy gardening!

Please write to us with any questions you might have about growing garlic in Quebec!

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While you wait for the arrival of Quebec-grown garlic in stores, be sure to buy fermented garlic scapes sold in stores all year round.

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