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- October 14, 2016 at 10:08 am #89558
I have a beautiful seed bed prepped for garlic after the Annual Gathering. I think it was Michael Glos on Sunday who was describing to me the best way to use the straddle row cultivator to set up beds for garlic. It was a blur of a time but I think he said “Set sweeps on the middle of each carrier, tip them forward, and they will make a bed between them. If you then set over one width and repeat, creating beds for garlic.” I’m not sure I have that right.
My question- given a team of good steady percherons, a straddle-row cultivator, a driver with limited experience on a cultivator, and a flat seedbed 120’x50,’ how would you go about setting up the most efficient garlic planting. I typically mulch my garlic and leave it alone until July.
Thanks!October 14, 2016 at 11:28 am #89559
I think Stephen Leslie wrote this up in Rural Heritage but I don’t know what issue. I’ll try to dig through this weekendOctober 16, 2016 at 6:49 pm #89567daniel groverKeymaster
I wouldn’t worry too much about setting up beds for your garlic. Instead, I’d mark out 36″ on center rows and then plant straight single rows of garlic. You can use a string or a long 100 or 300′ tape to set out straight rows and then just plant to the string or tape. A tape and two people is a nice way to do it because you can both use it to measure three feet off of your previous row at either end of the field and simultaneously set up your straight line for planting. Set a rock on each end of the tape and then start planting, using the tape to measure out your nice, even spacing.
This method will get you close enough to good rows that you could cultivate them if you’d like. But if you’re mulching, you probably won’t cultivate anyway.
Not mulching is also an option though in some cases (planting depth and soil type seem to be factors here), the garlic can be frost heaved out of the ground. No good.
If you do want to practice with your cultivator or you really want beds for whatever reason, most veggie farmers using a straddle row cultivator set up a V shaped pattern of sweeps for bed forming. You need to make up a middle bracket which spans your two gangs and which you can attach a center sweep to. I believe that there is a photo of a set up like this in Stephen’s book. I’ve seen different versions. David Fisher has a really nice welded bracket. Donn has also built a couple of different types of brackets.
With this set up, the middle shank is in place for bed making and then is removed to cultivate. I like to set the outside shanks very slightly lower than middle ones so that they really dig out and mark your rows. Additionally, there is sometimes a board drag of some kind behind the cultivator which evens out the bed tops. David uses one successfully. I’ve had mixed luck. I think soil type really matters here.
My two cents.October 17, 2016 at 9:38 am #89568
I was really just after an excuse to practice with the cultivator. What I ended up doing is a lot like you said Daniel, removing the center Sweep and leaving a bed in that space. I have not measured but the beds should be centered with the cultivator- not sure if that’s 36.”
I also disced the second area of plowed up land with 4 cinder blocks on the 6′ disc. It was a lot rougher and bounced cinder blocks off the disc even though they were tied on (Not well). Sarah declined to ride. More work is needed but it’s leveling out well.
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