My Garlic is actually starting to get some real leaves. When do you fertilize, and what do you fertilize with? I have Bloodmeal and Bonemeal.
Both are good, but can burn the plants if to much is to close.
I till my garden & perennial garden beds, before planting.
I know no till is the new fad, but I have never thought the bugs should over winter in my mulch.
So I till the compost, old mulch,dry leaves, coffee waste before I plant.
I mulch to keep heat in or cool wet in & weeds down.
So I may use coffee waste tea in the Spring & Summer.
But do not side dress my garlic.
Let us know how your garlic likes the BM &BlM.
I side-dress with compost monthly after growth resumes in spring. The hard-neck garlic is planted in fall, 3 rows in 30" bed, often after legumes or brassicas, and always after a compost topdressing. Deep straw mulch after ground has a hard freeze, which is pulled back for side-dressing then re-applied. I like to follow garlic with a clover cover crop and then fall roots.
I don't know how different garlic culture is from zone 5 WI to zone 8, but I would presume that it is basically the same, all you have to do is manipulate cultural techniques around your climate. Here, I plant garlic 6" deep, 6" on center in beds as large as I can manage, usually 3' x 10'. I did out all the soil 6" deep from the bed I want to plant, then loosen the soil again to about 2" to give a nice loose bed to place the cloves. Then, and don't scold, I mix in the recommended amount of 10-10-10 fertilizer, organic if I can get it. Garlic is a heavy feeder, and the fertilizer is most effective if it is at the root zone. If I had access to large quantities of compost, or composted manure, I would use that instead. Place the cloves and cover to original soil depth. I don't worry about waiting to mulch until after the ground is frozen, because it usually happens sooner than I expect. I cover with at least 10" of shredded leaves and grass clippings. Then it's nighty night until Spring.
In spring, the sprouts come right thru the mulch and grow in just fine. Depending on how quickly the mulch decomposes, I may have to mulch again in June, just to help with weeds.
I have never felt the need to side dress but I can't imagine that bone meal or blood meal are high enough in N to burn anything. Usually it's recommended to put these directly in the planting hole to get the fertilizer effect to the root zone because the analysis is so low.
I'm no expert, but I've don it this way for years and have always had really good results. That's the fun of gardening, trial and error!
I use a lazy method that doesn't require me to pull back the mulch (I grow about 200 cloves) -- before a rain, I pour on diluted fish emulsion + liquid seaweed (aiming directly for each sprig of garlic sprout). I figure the liquid penetrates toward the root zone and then the rain carries it down further. The "when" has to be different for different regions, and the Miller pamphlet simply says "in the spring."
I get wonderful, delicious, huge garlic that must have good brix because it lasts until the next July when the new crop gets harvested, so my laziness is working :). (I aspire to be as much like Ruth Stout as possible.)