You can’t argue with the statement that garlic is one of the most versatile vegetables in cooking and that a lot of mouthwatering dishes wouldn’t taste the same without it. Learning how to grow garlic indoors is far easier than people think it is.
If we grow tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini at home, why can’t we grow root veggies like garlic, too? Many people pick their garlic cloves up from the grocery store, but can you grow garlic indoors?
Growing garlic indoors is beneficial in many ways. Garlic bulbs are the most common part of the plant we use in our cooking, but there are other uses from different parts of the plant.
Garlic scapes grow from the bulbs of hardneck garlic. Garlic greens and chives have a similar taste but are used to garnish dishes instead of cooking them with other ingredients.
If you want to grow garlic at home in a container garden, you’ll benefit from a prosperous yield throughout the entire year.
Can You Grow Garlic Indoors?
Garlic comes from the genus allium, which has hundreds of species of flowering plants. Some of the most popular of these plants create our favorite vegetables like onions, chives, leeks, scallions, shallots, and of course, garlic.
There is something about garlic’s unique flavor that we can’t get enough of, and it is a staple in most cuisines. Growing garlic outside is obviously possible, but can you grow garlic indoors?
Growing garlic indoors like houseplants is an even better option than growing it outdoors. Garlic plants benefit from a controlled environment and have fewer pests and diseases to fight.
Indoor plants are more accessible to you and your family and are fresh throughout the entire year.
The two main garlic types are hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic has long flowering stems called scapes. This type does better in colder climates and is easier to peel.
Most gardeners think they are more flavorful, but they have fewer cloves than softneck garlic. Softneck garlic is the most popular type of garlic and what you usually pick up from the grocery store.
These are better for warmer climates and store for more extended periods than hardneck. They have more cloves per head and don’t have a flowering stalk. Their stems are softer, more flexible, and easy to braid when curing the garlic.
How to Grow Garlic Indoors
Figuring out how to grow garlic indoors is a little trickier than indoor gardening with more popular vegetables like tomatoes.
Instead of planting seeds, you plant individual cloves. Organic garlic requires a bit more labor and more knowledge about the growing process, too. After you do it once, growing garlic indoors becomes a part of your yearly gardening routine.
How to Start Growing Garlic Indoors
DIY container gardening starts with suitable containers. Garlic plants have shallow roots and don’t require overly deep pots.
A small clay pot is fine if you have one on hand, but don’t be afraid to repurpose old plastic containers or buckets if you don’t have one lying around your house.
Make sure to drill several drainage holes in the bottom of your chosen pot so that extra water quickly drains from the soil.
What Garlic Needs
Giving garlic the necessary environmental factors and nutrition play a significant role in the success of your harvest. Fresh garlic tastes even better when all their needs are met while growing.
Garlic plants enjoy soil that has consistent moisture but isn’t overly wet or dry. Add vermiculite or perlite to a potting mix to keep the soil loose and allow drainage. Potting soil with compost is another smart way to get your garlic off to a strong start.
While you grow your own garlic, give it a south facing window and set it on a windowsill that gets plenty of sunlight. Garlic requires at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
The great thing about growing garlic indoors is that providing this sunny environment is possible with grow lights, even on cloudy days.
Don’t overwater your garlic plants – watering them two to three times every week is often enough. Ensure you thoroughly saturate the soil in the pot so that a small amount drips out after each watering session.
Remember that too much water may cause damage, so be careful to find a happy medium between too much and too little.
Before You Start Planting
Before you start planting, figure out what your purpose is for planting garlic. If you are growing garlic strictly to use the bulbs, refrigerate them for at least 40 days.
Garlic enjoys having a period of cold weather and makes the result even more flavorful. If you only plant to eat the garlic sprouts or green, refrigerating them isn’t necessary.
Larger cloves tend to produce bigger plants, and smaller cloves produce smaller plants, making sure the container is the right size. Peeling the cloves isn’t necessary. It protects the bulb and provides added nutrients.
Separate a single garlic clove from a head of garlic. If some of the garlic has begun sprouting, this is a sign you’ll have success in your endeavor.
Garlic sprouts are less common than store-bought garlic because they are sprayed to prevent this from happening and make the garlic last longer.
Fill your empty container with fresh potting soil and dig a small hole three inches deep. Place a single garlic clove in the hole. Plant cloves with the flat end of the clove facing down and the pointy side shooting up.
Fill the three-inch hole with soil and gently pat the soil down so that the bulb remains in place when the roots start instead of forcing it back up through the soil. Evenly water the dirt and wait for the garlic to take root.
How to Fertilize Garlic
Fertilizer is a necessary tool for most indoor gardening projects. When the garlic sprouts reach six inches high, fertilize them lightly with a nitrogen-based fertilizer or chicken manure.
Repeat this process every three weeks until harvest. These fertilizers add nutrients to the soil, so the garlic keeps growing and produces a healthier veggie.
Shoots emerge from the buried cloves after only two to three weeks. Pruning the leaves isn’t necessary unless you plan to use the outside greens for cooking.
However, once the leaves produce a flower, the plant stops putting energy into the greens and bulbs, so don’t allow a flower to form if your bulbs aren’t ready.
The bulbs are ready for harvesting when at least half of the leaves turn brown. Once that many leaves are brown, stop watering the plant for a week to allow the soil to dry out and prevent rotting.
To harvest garlic bulbs, gently dump the soil from the pot and pull the bulbs out. Keep a few separate bulbs aside, so you can grow more garlic and hang the rest in a cool, dry area for a few weeks to cure.
The garlic is cured and ready for use once the outer leaves feel like paper. Brush off the dirt on the bulb’s outer edge and use your garlic within a few months of harvest.
How to Store Garlic
If you plan to use the harvested garlic within a month, the easiest way to store garlic is at room temperature in a location with low humidity. Place them in a mesh bag and put them in a dark cupboard where they are away from heat and light.
Hardneck garlic keeps in the fridge for up to six months, while softneck garlic keeps in the refrigerator for nine months.
If you’re interested in storing garlic for up to a year, one of the easiest ways to preserve it is by pickling it. Pickling adds a tangy taste to the garlic but helps it keep its fresh taste longer than other storage methods.
Peel your garlic and trim off any brown spots with a small paring knife. Place the cloves in a bowl of cold water and rub the outside of the cloves to rinse off lingering dirt. Strain the cloves, rinse them, and add them to a small Mason jar.
Bring a few cups of vinegar to a boil on your stove and pour the liquid into the jars over the garlic. Screw the lid on and allow the jar to come to room temperature before storing your garlic cloves in the fridge for up to a year.
Can you grow garlic indoors? After reading this article full of tips for DIY container gardening, we hope you understand every step to succeed in growing garlic indoors.
Garlic is delicious in sauces, potatoes, stir-fries, seasoning blends, and more. This vegetable is one plant that is suitable for dozens of different cuisines and is valuable to have stored and ready for use at home.
Your tastebuds and loved ones will thank you after learning how to grow garlic indoors and adding fresh garlic to all your family meals.
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