Garlic is not only a superfood, but it also makes various foods incredibly tasty. No wonder it is the king of culinary, and it always finds its way in many cookbooks. While cooking with fresh garlic makes your dishes taste better, growing it is tremendously fulfilling, blissful, and rewarding. But what if you don’t run a garden? Is it still possible to plant garlic and harvest it? YES! In this piece, you will learn how to grow garlic in containers successfully.
The best part is that you don’t need tons of gardening experience to grow garlic in pots. And you can choose to grow in pots indoors or outdoors.
The Basics of Growing Garlic in Pots
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of growing garlic, it is paramount to understand how this vegetable grows. Garlic takes its time to grow. If you are planting garlic in a container, it will take you about 8-9 months to harvest. This is equivalent to how long a baby stays in the womb, so you must be patient. Regardless of the long season, planting garlic is worth every minute. If you plant garlic cloves during the autumn in cold climates, you will not harvest them until the next early summer.
Advantages of Growing Garlic in a Pot
- Growing garlic in a container allows you to steer clear of common pests and diseases. These are the likes of onion maggots, thrips, bulb mites, purple blotch, and downy mildew.
- Homegrown garlic guarantees you a fresh supply of garlic and its scapes. Besides that, potted garlic could be much healthier than imported garlic. Farmers who grow garlic on a large scale are likely to use insecticides and fungicides.
- Growing potted garlic gives you a great sense of accomplishment every step of the way.
- Unlike growing garlic on the farm or garden, pot-grown garlic doesn’t cost much. That said, if you buy a lot of garlic for home uses, you could save some money. Besides that, you can always choose a few cloves from your harvest for replanting.
- Potted garlic does not need a lot of space. You just need several large pots and a few square feet of room. It is more like having potted flowers in your home. You can also choose to do it indoors or outdoors.
The Best Varieties of Garlic to Grow in Pots
Growing garlic in containers allows you to plant different varieties of this awesome vegetable. So you don’t have to stick with the type of garlic you find in your grocery store. However, the hard neck and soft neck garlic varieties are the best to grow in a container.
The Best Variety of Garlic to Grow in a Mild Climate
The soft neck garlic has a soft stem. Although it could survive during the winter, it may not yield well. Therefore, the soft neck garlic is best grown in a mild climate. But if you still prefer to grow the hard neck variety, you need to fake a winter to get the best results. How can you do that? Put the garlic bulbs in a paper bag and then stuff, then deposit them in the crisper compartment of your fridge. Leave them there for 8 weeks. When this period lapses, plant them in a pot, and they will do well.
The Best Variety of Garlic to Grow in a Cold Climate
The cold climate is usually harsh on various plants. If you live in a region with this kind of climate, the hard neck garlic variety is the best to plant in pots. Why? It is one of the hardiest garlic plants. It not only survives but also thrives in cold climates. For the first 6-8 weeks, hard neck garlic needs exposure to temperatures that are 45 degrees and below. They sprout faster and develop better well in such temperatures. If you are targeting to harvest both garlic and its scapes, the hard neck variety produces the best scapes.
Where to Source the Garlic Plants for Potting
Buy garlic bulbs for planting from your local farmer’s market or grocery store. If the local farmer market has had success in the same locale, you also have a good chance. However, supermarket garlic bulbs are not the best. They could be imported and fail to do well in your region. Also, most supermarkets stock treated garlic. As such, it may not sprout, and that means it will not grow.
The Right Container for Growing Garlic
If you want to succeed at growing garlic in a container, you need to choose the best garlic pot. Avoid porous containers as they will enslave you to water your plants for 8 months. Instead, use a ceramic, plastic-stone, fiber-stone, or a durable plastic pot to plant garlic. Ensure that whichever pot you choose is frost-proof. The objective is to use a pot that will withstand the winter because some tend to crack. Glazed ceramic pots will undoubtedly survive the winter frost.
The container you choose should be at least 8 inches deep with adequate drainage holes. If you want to plant many garlic cloves at ago, you will need a wider container.
Which Soil is Ideal for Growing Garlic in a Pot
If you fail to select the best soil mix for growing garlic, then you may be setting yourself up for failure. Use properly drained potting mix to prevent your garlic cloves from rotting. However, the potting mix should also be fertile to feed the garlic adequately.
Get high-quality soil and then enrich it by mixing it with compost. To achieve the right balance, mix it at a ratio of 75:25. This means that for each cup of compost, add three cups of soil. If you do not know how to make compost, purchase it from a compost producer within your locality.
Furthermore, well-rotted manure works incredibly well. If you use it right, your container-grown garlic will produce larger cloves.
The Best Time to Plant Garlic in a Container
Container-grown garlic should be planted at the same time as farm-grown garlic. This helps you get an optimum harvest. The ideal time to grow garlic is between September and November.
How to Grow Garlic in Pots
Now that you know what you need to plant garlic in a pot let’s go over the process.
Mix soil with compost as we have described above. Fill your container with this potting mix. Since garlic is a bulb plant, add some phosphorous to your soil mix. This should be organic granulated phosphorous fertilizer specifically for bulb plants. Fertilizer will help your garlic cloves to produce sizable garlic heads. Using a trowel, stir your potting mix to distribute the fertilizer evenly.
Crack your garlic bulb into individual cloves. The larger cloves are the best to plant because they produce top-sized garlic heads. Use the small ones in the kitchen. Using your fingers, start sinking your selected cloves gently into the soil. See to it that their pointy ends are facing up. The garlic cloves bases should seat about 3 inches deep into the soil. Avoid cramming the garlic cloves together, as this will limit their growing space. Experts recommend leaving 3-4 inches between them.
Once you’ve potted the garlic successfully, water them moderately and add a layer of mulch. It should be 1-2 inches thick. Shredded leaves or straw is perfect for mulching. During winter, this layer will protect the garlic bulb from the harsh elements of the climate. For the next 8-9 months, water your potted garlic plants regularly.
Aside from that, place potted garlic in a strategic location where t will get at least six hours of sunshine daily. Make sure that the potting soil stays moist throughout.
How to Care for Your Potted Garlic Plants During the Winter
Garlic in pots also requires sunshine to grow. Place the pot on a sunny spot for around 6-8 hours during the winter. But if you live in a region with a warm climate, you can leave them in one spot until the time to harvest. However, if you grow garlic indoors, you have to ensure that the plants have access to adequate sunlight.
In a cold climate, you have to shelter your garlic plants as the winter approaches. The goal is to shield both the garlic plant and the soil from harsh elements. You can achieve this by wrapping your garlic pot with bubble wrap.
How to Care for Your Garlic Plant During Spring or Summer
If you are growing garlic indoors, move the potted plants outdoors during the spring and summer. They should get at least six hours of sunshine during this time. On top of that, add a small amount of granulated bulb fertilizer to loose potting soil.
During the spring season, you will notice green shoots protruding on top of the soil. After a few days, they will grow into large and healthy green stalks. The hard-neck garlic varieties will produce curly flowery stalks, also known as scapes. You want to snap these off carefully so that’s the plant’s energy can be focused on growing top-sized bulbs.
When and How to Harvest Potted Garlic
Harvesting Garlic Scapes
If you like to cook your mashed potatoes with garlic scapes, you will get a chance to harvest them. The hard-neck garlic variety is known for its scapes. These are the winding, long, green shoots that garlic bulbs produce while growing. They have a nice fragrance and a mild garlicky flavor.
The perfect time to harvest garlic sprouts is when they are still young, green, and soft. Then, when they start curling in circles, it is time to pick them and allow the bulbs to flourish.
Harvesting Garlic Heads
When 50% of the garlic plant foliage turns yellow, then it is ready for harvesting. Do not wait until most of the sprouts turn yellow and die off because the cloves underneath will split. But again, you do not want to harvest garlic before half of the foliage has turned. Why? The heads may not have fully matured, and you will have challenges storing the harvested garlic.
If all the signs show that the garlic is ready, proceed to dump the contents of the pot on a clean surface. Retrieve the garlic heads carefully and store them in a cool, dry area. Pulling out the garlic from the soil is a bad idea. The chances of damaging the soft bulbs are high. If you cannot empty the contents of the pot carefully, dig out each garlic bulb carefully using your fingers.
People Also Ask
Does Garlic Grow Well in Containers?
It is possible to grow garlic in containers with the appropriate potting soil, moisture-retaining pots, enough sunlight, and moderate watering.
How Long Does Potted Garlic Take to Grow?
It takes around 8-9 months for garlic to mature, but the exact timing can be influenced by factors such as the variety and climate conditions.
What Temperature Should Garlic Be Grown in?
For optimal growth, garlic should be planted in temperatures ranging from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 32 degrees Celsius). If you live in a cold climate, it is important to protect your garlic plants from freezing temperatures. In warmer climates, be careful not to expose the plants to excessive heat, which can cause the bulbs to split.
Do You Plant Garlic by the Bulb or Clove?
When planting garlic, use the individual cloves that make up the head. Plant them with the pointed end facing up and completely cover them with soil. Planting multiple cloves together can increase your harvest per bulb. Alternatively, you can plant whole heads of garlic, and each clove will produce multiple bulbs.
Does Garlic Need Full Sun?
To grow garlic well, it requires full sunlight. Direct sunlight for at least six hours every day is necessary. If garlic cultivation is indoors, during spring and summer, the pot should be moved outdoors to get enough sunlight. If the amount of light is less, the cloves won’t grow properly, and they will remain small. In hot regions, excessive sunlight can cause the bulbs to split, thus providing shade during extremely hot and bright weather is crucial.
If you have been thinking of growing garlic but at the same time dreading it, the chances are that you will relish doing it. You do not need to have a lot of experience to pull this off. Follow the steps we have outlined in this piece and avoid the pitfalls mentioned. Then, get your hands dirty, and with a little bit of patience, you should be harvesting your container-grown garlic.