The photo shows a garlic plant on April 1. As you can see, it is like a leek with a single bulb, and not very big. In the next few weeks, it should divide into cloves and get 10 times bigger. Now is the moment when its growth has to speed up and switch from making roots and leaves to making bulbs.
To fuel that growth, your garlic plants--and all overwintered vegetables--need a boost right now. You can top-dress with compost, earthworm castings, manure, or any organic nitrogen source.
New young seedlings also need nutrients to fuel spring growth. And while the soil is cold, nutrients are in short supply--the soil bacteria that make them are sluggish. Essentially, they are hibernating. This is a good moment for probiotic nutrient teas, either in the soil on sprayed on the plant.
We have found that probiotic brews like compost tea are easily absorbed and give a very quick result, even in cold weather. Fermented plant juice, made from fast-growing local weeds, gives a visible boost to growth and health. These are just what your garlic needs to finish and your seedlings need to start.
These organic nutrients, ferments, and probiotics are easy and cheap to make from local ingredients. For recipes, click here: HOW-TO
Jamie Chevalier lives and gardens on a river in the Coast Range. She has gardened professionally in Alaska and California, as well as living in a remote cabin and commercial fishing. She wrote the Bountiful Gardens catalog from 2009 to 2017, and now is proprietor of Quail Seeds.