The Secret Weapon for Growing Garlic: Bone Meal 

Garlic is a staple in many Montana gardens.  Our climate is well-suited to growing delicious, robust flavored cloves.  While garlic is relatively easy to cultivate, there are a few tricks of the trade that can take your garlic harvest to the next level.  By fertilizing with bone meal at planting time, you can expect to have larger, more fragrant garlic at harvest time.  Below you will find a few more benefits of bone meal when planting garlic:

Boosts Root Development

Bone meal is an organic fertilizer with a high phosphorus content.  Phosphorus is a crucial nutrient for plant root growth, particularly during the early stages of development. When you use bone meal as you plant garlic, you provide your cloves with the essential phosphorus they need to establish strong root systems before they fall dormant in the winter months.  Root development is crucial to ensuring your garlic seed over winters properly.  

Enhances Bulb Development

The main goal when growing garlic is to produce plump, flavorful bulbs. Bone meal aids in this process by providing a steady supply of phosphorus throughout the growing season. Phosphorus encourages the development of larger bulbs and increases their overall quality. This means you’ll enjoy bigger and more flavorful garlic cloves come harvest time.

Strengthens Garlic Plants

In addition to phosphorus, bone meal contains calcium, another vital nutrient for plant health. Calcium strengthens the cell walls, making them more resistant to diseases and pests. By fortifying your garlic plants with bone meal, you help them withstand various environmental stressors, ensuring a healthier and more robust crop.

Long-lasting Nutrient Release

Organic fertilizers are of a “slow- release” nature, meaning that they will break down and release their nutrients over time.  Some of the nutrients in bone meal will be immediately available to the garlic cloves while some of them will break down throughout the winter to be absorbed in the spring.  Unlike synthetic fertilizers that provide a quick nutrient burst, bone meal breaks down gradually, supplying your garlic with nutrients over an extended period. This consistent nutrient availability supports steady growth and prevents over-fertilization, which can harm your plants. 

Environmentally Friendly

Bone meal is an organic fertilizer made from animal bones, making it an eco-friendly choice for gardeners. If you want to learn more about the history of bone meal, check out this article.

In the world of gardening, using bone meal when planting garlic is like giving your garlic crop a secret superpower. With its rich phosphorus content, ability to enhance bulb development, and overall plant-strengthening qualities, bone meal is a valuable ally for garlic growers. Plus, its slow-release nature and environmental friendliness make it a responsible choice for conscientious gardeners. So, if you’re aiming for a bountiful harvest of plump, flavorful garlic bulbs, don’t forget to incorporate bone meal into your gardening routine. Your taste buds will thank you!

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