How to feed and mulch garlic and strawberries

Feeding and mulching garlic during the growing season
  • If your garlic looks like ours (slightly neglected!) then it’s not too late to give it a good feed and get it all nice and sized up by harvest time.
  • Most plants, especially long-term ones like garlic, need to be fed during their growing season. Leafy greens need more nitrogen while they’re growing, and root crops need more phosphorus.
  • Firstly we’ll apply a nitrogen-rich fertiliser because the leaves of our garlic have yellowed. We use chicken poo, but sheep pellets or other well-rotten animal manure will also work well. Secondly, we sprinkle a handful per square metre of Natures Organic Fertiliser which contains a high percentage of phosphorus which will size up the bulbs.
  • Then we mulch the bed. Mulching is a very important part of organic gardening. It keeps soil temperature and moisture content even which creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive.
  • Today we’re mulching our garlic bed with pea straw which has a good amount of nitrogen in it, but there are many different options:
    – Straw or hay – beware of seeds which might sprout in your garden.
    – Rotted-down sawdust works well and adds carbon to the soil. Needs to be well-rotted otherwise it robs nitrogen from your soil as it breaks down.
    – Lucerne chaff beds down well because it’s chopped (it has a good amount of nitrogen in it too).
    – Coffee grounds (which are a good carbon source). Use a fork to work coffee grounds in lightly as, if you leave them as a layer on top, they’ll form a hard cake and water won’t be able to permeate.
    – Grass clippings (best around citrus and subtropicals like feijoas as grass can seed in your garden too).
    – Seaweed from the beach (a great source of carbon and nitrogen).
  • After laying out mulch, water in well. This will activate the nitrogen and bed down the mulch.
  • Replace bird netting. Birds like mulch because it brings the earthworms up to the surface.
Feeding and mulching strawberries during the growing season
  • The roots of our strawberry plants are reaching the nitrogen source we buried during planting time. But now we need to feed the plants a high potassium fertiliser for the flowers that are out and the fruit that’s setting. Rob’s choice of fertiliser is Awesome Strawberries (Mycorrcin). Mycorrcin is an organic product which stimulates mycorrhizal fungi to act as an extension to the plant’s roots, assisting in the collection of nutrients and moisture. 
  • Before you apply liquid fertiliser, it’s important to water the bed. This means the liquid fertiliser is absorbed more easily and dilutes it as well. You’re better to feed your strawberry plants a weaker mix more often (every 2-3 weeks) than a stronger mix less often, in case you burn the shallow roots of the plants. Mix Awesome Strawberries at a rate of 5ml to 5 litres of water.
  • Liquid fish and seaweed fertiliser is also good on strawberries if you don’t have specific strawberry fertiliser.
  • Finally Rob layers on more Lucerne chaff as mulch. The mulch keeps moisture in the soil and the fruit sits up off the soil as it ripens with no danger of rotting.
  • A final watering keeps the mulch from blowing away, then replace the bird netting again to keep birds, chickens and cats off.


Camera: Jarod Murray
Editor: Thomas Asche
Production equipment and post-production services provided by The Black Forest Breathes