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Garlic is one of our favorite crops, we’ve been saving our seed and building the crop for 7 years now and the past two years have planted between 15,000-20,000 plants. We spend a full season preparing for planting in the fall which includes at least two fully grown out cover crops with manure spread on between them. Buckwheat early in the season which is known to be good for making P more available, followed by peas and oats planted early august. We feel this helps with out competing the weeds and adding lots of organic matter. Then typically plant the garlic right into the pea and oat residue after mowing it. Mulching with straw on top of that to insulate for the winter. It seems to us that this gives a slow and steady release of nutrients to the garlic as all the organic matter breaks down and less of an intensive nitrogen application all at once which would give the weeds the same boost in the spring right when they are looking for it.