Garlic, also known as Allium Sativa, is part of the onion family and has been used as seasoning and medicine for thousands of years. While of the garlic available today is grown in China, why not learn how to grow garlic at home? Maybe even grow garlic indoors? Yes, it’s possible to grow garlic indoors, in containers or in the ground!
First, let’s take a look at the basic types of garlic.
Types of Garlic
Soft neck– This is usually the type of garlic that you find in the grocery stores. Soft neck garlic has a more subtle flavor, matures more quickly and stores long-term easily.
You will not get a scape with soft neck garlic and it is best grown in mild environments.
Hard neck – Hard neck garlic has more pungent flavors, produces a scape and grows best in cold climates. They produce larger bulbs but fewer cloves per bulb.
Elephant– Elephant garlic isn’t a true garlic and is more closely related to the leek rather than to garlic. Elephant garlic is a biennial with a mild flavor and are of course, large!
Garlic as a Companion Plant
Makes a great companion plant to vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, spinach, strawberries, cauliflower, kale, beets, potatoes and cabbage.
Fruit trees also love garlic to be planted around their base! Garlic repels insects that can harm fruit trees, a natural insect-repellent!
Garlic plants have also been known to repel deer!
Garlic repels bugs like:
- Japanese beetles
- Spider mites
Can I Buy Garlic to Grow at the Grocery Store?
No, you shouldn’t purchase garlic at the grocery with the intention of growing with it.
Commercial garlic is sprayed with growth retardant that will keep it from sprouting.
Purchase garlic from reputable growers or a health food store, for the best results.
Herbs that Like to be Companioned with Garlic
Chamomile, when planted with garlic, will enhance the flavor!
Garlic is also friendly with dill, savory, yarrow and rue.
What Conditions does Garlic Need?
Garlic need to be grown in an area will well-drained soil and full sun.
While you can grow garlic indoors, it must experience 9 months of dormancy to produce properly.
This can be accomplished easily by planting your garlic in a pot at least 18″ deep and 12″ wide in the Spring, and then put the pot out in a cold garage or barn for the winter.
Planting Garlic in Pots
You can use any pot to grow garlic indoors, as long as it has good drainage and is at least 12″ wide and 18″ deep.
Just an old 5-gallon bucket works well!
Always use soil intended for container gardening.
Soil from your garden will not work!
Garlic needs at least 6 hours of full sun indoors from a window.
Plant your garlic spaced at least 2″ from the side of the pot and at least 5″ apart, 3″ deep.
When planting in the fall, simply keep your garlic pot in the garage during the winter to insure the dormancy period is met.
How to Plant Garlic Outdoors
The best time to plant garlic outside is late fall/early winter.
Garlic prefers well-drained soil and lots of sun!
Plant your cloves, root side down, in a 2-3″ hole and cover with soil. Adding 6″ of mulch will help your garlic to thrive during a very cold winter.
How to Plant Garlic that has Sprouted
You plant sprouted garlic the exact same way as any other garlic clove, but sprout side up.
Make sure that your garlic bulb is intended for growing and not from the grocery store.
How Long Does it Take for Garlic to Grow?
From a clove, it takes about 9 months to grow a full head of garlic.
When planted in the late fall, they will be ready the following summer.
When is Garlic Ready to Be Harvested?
When the flower and leaves die back and are brown, it’s time to harvest your garlic!
Plant some garlic and enjoy!