Fresh Clips

News, Reviews, People, Places

| August/September 2008

Fresh Clips items

The Great Garlic Cover-Up
Stir Things Up with ‘Curly’ Sage
Kids Dig Classroom Gardens
A Zinger for High Blood Pressure
Garlic Protects Against Arsenic Poisoning
Sage: You Must Remember This 

The Great Garlic Cover-Up

A winter blanket of plastic boosts yield and quality

Growing garlic in regions with cold winters just got easier, thanks to research conducted at Southern Illinois University Horticulture Research Center.

Researchers evaluated the quality, yield and winter hardiness of eight garlic cultivars grown over a two-year period. All of the garlics were planted in silty loam soil and deep raised beds, but some were planted in beds covered with 1.25-mil black plastic, while others were planted in uncovered soil, then mulched with 2 inches of wheat straw in spring.

The black plastic not only improved winter survival (95 percent versus 85 percent for the uncovered soil), but also increased the weight (by 50 percent, on average) and diameter size (by 23 percent) of harvested bulbs. In the plastic-covered beds, the garlic began growing earlier, allowing bulbs to grow larger.

Of the eight varieties evaluated, ‘Idaho Silverskin’ and ‘Persian Star’ performed best, with 100 percent winter survival, high yields and excellent disease resistance. Both varieties (and many other garlics) are available from Filaree Farm; see —Robin Siktberg

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