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This is my third year growing garlic and in the past I've sprayed my plants with a liquid fish and seaweed fertilizer throughout the season. I had also applied a small amount of composted manure in the fall when planting it.

This year when I planted the garlic I did not amend the soil since I didn't have anything to use. Now that it’s coming up I’m wondering when this should be fertilized, and with what.

I have some bone meal and my local nursery has bulb care and bio-tone starter plus available. Would any of these be ok to apply or is there a better solution?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Bone meal, like most phosphorous sources, is not mobile in the soil. A plant has to grow towards it to use it. I assume you are not going to dig up your garlic in order to add bone meal or bulb care at the roots.

I actually never fertilize my garlic but what it could use in the spring is nitrogen for leaf growth. Nitrogen can be applied as a side dressing or a foliar feed. The least amount of work would be to apply 1/2" of compost to the plant.

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I also do not fertilize my garlic and it grows just fine. I do amend my soil with compost and new dirt every spring though. –  Om Patange Mar 26 '12 at 1:47

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