Did you know that you can grow your own garlic indoors? With that, you will ensure you always have an adequate supply of fresh garlic for use in your kitchen. In addition, you can easily grow garlic indoors when the outdoor gardening season ends.
Using garlic in your food adds flavor to your food and has health benefits, including regulating blood sugar levels. In addition, if you have a constant supply of garlic, you no longer have to worry about getting it from the grocery store.
This article explains how to grow garlic indoors for everyone looking to enjoy its health benefits. All you need is a deep pot sitting next to your windowsill. But, if you want to know how to grow garlic indoors simply, keep reading.
3 Common Garlic Varieties
You can start your garlic growing project by choosing any of the three varieties. Softneck garlic is the best for anyone looking to grow garlic greens. However, if you want to grow garlic scapes, then you should choose the redneck variety.
- Softneck Garlic: The soft neck variety of garlic includes Silverskin, which has soft stems, which you can easily braid together during the curing process. Other varieties under this category include Spanish Roja, German Red, Duganski, and Korean Red. If you intend to grow garlic greens, this is the best variety to go for.
- Hardneck Garlic: Hardneck garlic usually has one ring of cloves and the characteristic milder flavor. It is best for individuals intending to grow garlic scapes.
- Elephant Garlic: Elephant garlic or great-headed garlic is not ideal for outdoor or indoor gardening. Besides, it lacks the characteristic punchy flavor instead of tasting much like leeks. So if you want to grow garlic indoors, steer clear of this particular variety.
How To Grow Garlic Indoors In Easy Steps
Growing garlic at home is easy. However, after planting it, you must wait for a couple of weeks before you can start trimming the greens. Garlic leaves usually come in handy for flavoring your food as you wait for garlic bulbs to develop.
You can harvest your garlic when it’s ready and use it to prepare your favorite dishes. Also, since homegrown garlic is still fresh, it will give you a richer flavor than you get from the shop.
The following is a detailed step-by-step description of growing garlic indoors.
Fill The Container With Potting Mixture
Step 1: Choose A Container That’s Deep Enough
As a first step, you should choose a container that’s at least eight inches deep. With such depth, it will be easier for garlic roots to grow. The plants will, in turn, produce green leaves, which will help the bulbs to expand.
It can be anything between a wooden crate, flower pot, or another container. So long as its depth can support the growth of garlic, you are good to go.
Check that the Container is wide enough to support several garlic plants. For example, three garlic plants ideally grow in a 12-inch-wide container.
The containers are available in a home improvement store, garden supply stores, and online. You can also find an appropriate planting container at your local craft store.
Step 2: Create Drainage Holes In The Container
Check that the Container has adequate drainage holes underneath. If it doesn’t, you must drill the drainage holes to prevent your garlic bulbs from getting chocked by too much soil water. When left in waterlogged soil, garlic bulbs may rot.
If you purchase special planting containers such as those made from terracotta or plastic, they will likely come with ready drainage holes. However, if your plastic Container doesn’t have any holes, create come using a sharp noise.
In clay or glass containers, you can drill drainage holes with the help of an electric drill. After that, your Container will be ready for planting garlic.
Step 3: Fill The Container With Potting Mix
While you might want to use garden soil, filling the Container with soil-less potting mix is advisable. That’s important in allowing the easy drainage of excess water from the soil, preventing your garlic bulbs from rotting.
You may choose a potting mix made from perlite or vermiculite and containing peat, coconut fiber, or fish emulsion. Such a potting mix can easily retain enough water to help your garlic grow.
Purchase a high-quality potting mix from the nearest home improvement store, garden supply store, or online. Once you have gotten the right material, you can create your potting mix using pearlite or vermiculite mixed with coconut peat or cotton fiber.
Step 4: Water The Potting Soil To Help It Settle Down
Before you plant the cloves in the Container, water it adequately to push the material to settle down; during that time, you can test and see that the drainage holes are doing their work perfectly.
You can use a watering can or a glass filled with eight ounces of water. Pour the water gently over the mixture while watching for excess water escaping through the drainage holes.
Planting Garlic Cloves
Once you have chosen a container, drilled drainage holes, filled it with potting mix, and watered it, you’re ready for the next step – plant the cloves. Doing so will require you to go through another elaborate process, which includes the following steps.
Step 1: Buy Organic Garlic Bulbs
You can find these online or from your nearest gardening store. Avoid supermarket garlic since that is treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting. If you use it, you might end up with frustrations when it fails to sprout.
The best place to buy seed garlic bulbs is from your local gardening store, plant nursery, or online. Who knows, your local grocery store might have chemical-free garlic bulbs that can sprout.
Alternatively, the idea to grow garlic indoors might result from some of your store-bought bulbs sprouting accidentally. Watch out for green shoots! If you have enough seed garlic cloves for your Container, go ahead and use them.
Step 2: Release The Garlic Cloves From The Bulbs
Using your open palm, crush one garlic bulb at a time to separate the cloves. Only plant the largest cloves since they are more likely to sprout. You can use the smaller cloves in your favorite home recipes.
While at it, avoid peeling the garlic cloves. That will protect them and increase their chances of sprouting.
Ideally, it would help if you separated the cloves at least 24 hours before planting them. Then, after staying one day apart, the cloves are dry enough to sprout easily.
Step 3: Make The Planting Holes
You can use a finger or stick to dig holes on the soil surface for each clove. Be sure to leave adequate space between the holes and to make them deep enough. You can then grow actual garlic bulbs in the Container.
Ideally, each hole should be one-inch wife to fit a clove. In a 12-inch-wide container, you can plant the cloves up to three in a hole.
Step 4: Cover The Cloves With One-Inch-Deep Soil
Cover the cloves with about an inch-deep potting mixture. Before covering, make sure that each clove lies in the hole, the flat end going in first. Then, cover each one of them with the potting mixture to bury them in the hole.
Step 5: Place The Container Where It Can Get Enough Sunshine
Just because you have planted your garlic indoors doesn’t mean that you can keep the Container in a dark place. That’s because growing garlic requires six to eight hours of direct sunlight.
You set the planting container on a windowsill to expose it to six or more hours of direct sunlight. Alternatively, you can use artificial light such as that from a fluorescent tube to grow garlic. You can as well purchase special grow lights.
Step 6: Water The Garlic Plants Adequately
Garlic can best grow indoors with adequate watering. Water the container until you see water running through the bottom as a starter.
That ensures that the organic garlic cloves have enough moisture to push sprouts through the protective husk. However, it would help if you avoided over-watering or soaking the garlic.
How To Care for Growing Garlic Plants
After a week or so, leaf shoots begin to emerge above the potting soil. A couple of weeks later, the leaves will be visible growth. Now is the time to take good care of your garlic plants. The following are some of the steps you can take:
1. Apply Fertilizer Every Few Weeks
Essentially, it would help if you fertilized the growing garlic regularly. The best timing is after every couple of weeks until the plants are ready for harvesting.
You can use liquid fertilizer sprayed on top of the soil. Be sure to read the instructions on the package to know how much water you should use to dilute the fertilizer.
You don’t have to use chemical fertilizer to grow organic garlic cloves. Instead, check the local supply store for liquid organic fertilizer, which you can use to nourish the plants.
2. Maintain Just Enough Moisture In The Potting Mix
The frequency of watering the garlic plants depends on the climate in your home area, the intensity of sunlight, and humidity. Therefore, it is important to water garlic regularly without oversaturating it.
Every time you water the plants, add enough water for some to start moving out of the drainage holes. For example, you might need to water the planted garlic cloves two to three times a week in warmer, sunny climates.
3. Watch Out For Signs Of Pests And Rodents
The attractive smell of garlic may draw mice and other rodents towards it. You can know that is the case if you notice bite marks on the green garlic leaves.
Similarly, garlic tends to attract mites, aphids, and other small insects. The insects will eventually kill the planted garlic if you let them spread.
You can lay traps for the mice and spray natural insecticides for the small insects. Once your plants are free from rodents and insects, they will be able to thrive.
When And How To Harvest Garlic Greens And Bulbs
Garlic is ready to harvest seven to nine months after planting. When the leaf shoots or green tops turn brown or yellow, you will know it is ready to harvest. However, you don’t have to wait until that time to start harvesting garlic. The following are a few things to take into account:
1. Know When To Harvest Garlic Sprouts
What is the right time to harvest your garlic greens? It should be when the leaves grow to at least six inches. Be careful not to damage the garlic plants in the process of plucking the leaves. The plant will keep replenishing its leaves for the first six months of its life, giving you enough to harvest.
2. Always Leave A One-Inch Leaf
It would help if you used scissors when cutting the garlic leaves. Always make sure you leave at least one inch for the plant to recover and keep growing.
Contrary to popular belief, cutting green leaves doesn’t damage the growing garlic bulbs. Instead, it helps the plant to focus more on growing the bulbs.
3. Use Garlic Leaves In Your Recipes
Using a sharp knife, cut the garlic leaves into small pieces and use them to season your dishes. Alternatively, the chopped garlic shoots can create tasty garnishes for all your meals.
Instead of purchasing fresh garlic bulbs from the farmer’s market, use the chopped garlic leaves to add great flavor to your food.
4. Pluck The Plant’s From The Container After 10 Months
Ten months after you planted the garlic cloves, take steps to pluck the plants from the Container. That’s about the time when the garlic shoots turn brown. Then, cease watering for a week or more until the soil is completely dry.
After pulling the bulbs from the soil, wipe off the potting mix. Next, hang each garlic bulb in and dry, airy location, and wait for them to dry. After that, you are free to use the garlic whichever way you want.
You may keep your largest bulbs for seeds when the time comes to plant your next crop. That way, you will avoid going to the local plant nursery for seedlings.
After curing the garlic, clean the bulbs using a soft brush to remove the dirt. If you want to prolong the shelf life of the garlic, keep as much of the outer wrapper as possible.
If you intend to braid the softneck garlic, leave the stalks intact. Otherwise, it would help if you cut off everything, leaving only a few inches.
Essentially, cured garlic lasts for many months.
How To Use Your Homegrown Garlic
The chances are that you already know how to use garlic in your dishes, whether the green leaves or the bulbs. If you happen to harvest many garlic leaves, use them to make a pesto. Since pesto uses a lot of leaves, you can keep them in quarter-cup frozen portions for use throughout the year.
You can also use garlic to make pancakes or pan-fried flatbread. You can find several scallion pancake recipes with the garlic leaves replacing the scallions.
Immature baby garlic is the perfect replacement for scallions and can be preserved by drying or freezing. Even though difficult to peel, small, immature bulbs have a more powerful taste than their more mature counterparts.
If your harvest yields too many bulbs, you can turn to process them in various ways to prolong their shelf-life. For example, you could create garlic puree, minced garlic, baked garlic, or powder garlic.
Once you have a ready homemade garlic product, you will no longer need to purchase any from the grocery store.
You can mince the garlic and preserve it in tablespoon portions on ice cube trays in the freezer. You can remove it from the freezer whenever you need to use garlic and include it in any dish.
When freezing garlic, always label the Container with the date to avoid using it when it has already gone stale.
How To Grow Garlic Indoors – FAQs
Is Garlic A Type Of Onion?
Garlic belongs to the Allium genus, making it close to the onion. However, garlic is not a variety of onions. It is squarely of its species.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Garlic?
Garlic has several health benefits, including regulating blood cholesterol and acting as an anti-inflammatory. It has also been established to be able to fight colorectal cancer.
What Garlic Variety Is Best For Growing Indoors?
The hard neck and softneck varieties of garlic are the best for indoor growing. However, the softneck is the best for growing indoors. Softneck varieties include California Late, California Early, Inchelium Red, and Silverskin.
Can You Grow Store-bought Garlic?
Yes. You can grow store-bought garlic bulbs with somewhat unsatisfying results. If you want healthy garlic, be sure to plant the type raised specifically as seeds. Garlic from the store is usually treated with chemicals to prolong its shelf life. Therefore, it can be hard for it to sprout.
Growing Garlic Indoors Is Worth Your While
Before trying it, you might wrongfully think that growing garlic indoors is difficult. All you need to do is to follow the steps outlined in this article to grow garlic indoors.
Indoor growing helps you get chemical-free garlic, better-tasting fresh garlic. You can use it to make tasty meals at home.