Yield, Dry Matter Partitioning, and Storage Quality of Hardneck Garlic as Affected by Soil Amendments and Scape Removal

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  • 1 Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108
  • | 2 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

Two on-farm field studies were conducted in 1996 and repeated in 1997 to determine the effects of soil amendments and scape (flower stalk) removal on yield, dry matter partitioning, and storage quality of hardneck garlic (Allium sativum L.). One study site was on a loamy sand soil with low organic matter and fertility and the other site was on a sandy loam soil with high organic matter and fertility. Soil amendment treatments tested at both sites were: 1) no amendment, 2) composted manure, and 3) inorganic fertilizer according to soil test recommendations. A fourth treatment, dried, composted turkey-manure-based fertilizer, was included at the low organic matter site. Scapes were removed at the curled stage from plants in half of the harvest rows. Scapes from the remainder of the harvest row plants were allowed to mature until harvest. In 1997, bulbs from each treatment were stored at 0 to 3 °C or 19 to 21 °C for 6 months. Soil amendment treatments had no effect on total garlic bulb yield, dry mass partitioning, or stored bulb weight loss at the sandy loam, high organic matter site. Manure compost, fertilizer, and composted turkey manure soil amendments reduced the yield of smaller bulbs compared with the control at the loamy sand, low organic matter site. The proportion of bulbs >5 cm was highest with the manure compost treatment. At the low organic matter site, scape removal resulted in a 15% increase in bulb yield and an increase in bulb size compared with leaving scapes on until harvest (P = 0.05). At the high organic matter site, scape removal increased bulb yield by 5% (P = 0.10). Scape removal increased dry matter partitioning to the bulbs, but had no effect on total (scape + shoot + bulb) aboveground dry matter production. The increase in bulb dry mass when scapes were removed was offset by an increase in scape dry mass when scapes were left on. Bulb weight loss in storage was less at 0 to 3 °C than 19 to 21 °C. Soil amendments only affected bulb storage quality at the loamy sand, low soil organic matter site. The effect of scape removal on bulb weight loss was nonsignificant at either location.

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