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Spring Feeding: Garlic enjoys a good spring feeding.

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

Garlic enjoys a good spring feeding when plant foliar is about 3 inches tall. Some areas of the country will be ready to apply fertilizer in March while other areas, with colder growing climates, may need to wait until April.

Tip #1 - Choose What's Right For Your Garlic / Garden.

There are several organic fertilizers that you can use, including liquid sea kelp, powdered kelp, fish meal, or blood meal.

While there are some debates about which option is the best spring feed, powder kelp is a good, cold hardy, fertilizer and does well in early spring where hard frosts are still likely.

Foliar sprays work best if applied a day or two after an irrigation or rainfall.

If you would rather apply fertilizers to the soil, you can do a side dressing along the rows or do a broadcasting. Dried blood meal is a great organic source of nitrogen that becomes available slowly over 1 to 6 weeks as it decomposes naturally in the soil.

Tip #2 - How Often Should You Feed Your Garlic?

You can apply a foliar feeding every two weeks from about Mid-March to early May, with a total of 3-4 applications. Once the leaves quit growing, you should stop applying any foliar nutrients (mid to late May). At this point, due to mounting heat, additional applications could cause the leaves to yellow, and the plant can no longer utilize the nutrients.

Regardless of the fertilizer you choose, it should be applied in early to mid-spring, and be avoided during late spring, and it should NOT be applied to water-stressed plants.

Tip #3 - Apply the Right Amount

Make sure to read and apply fertilizer according to the directions on the package.

Tip #4 - DO NOT Feed Garlic in Late Spring

Garlic leaves stop growing in late spring. At this time the energy begins to move toward bulb development. Adding high nitrogen in late spring can actually delay the bulbing process and can result in reduced garlic size and amount of garlic that will be harvested.

Tip #5 - Dry Or Yellow Tips

Many gardeners see yellow or brown on the tips of leaves, but not the rest of the leaf. This is most likely frost of wind damage from when the foliage was first sprouting and is normal for most garlic across the country. These dried tips will not effect bulb development, nor does it mean that you need added nutrients.

Yellowing of the entire leaf in April or May could be an indication of water or nutrient deficiency.

**Garlic Gods refers to, and sources information in this article from the book

"Growing Great Garlic" by Ron L. Engeland

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