How To Grow Garlic Indoors For Fresh Greens And Bulbs?

The classic pungent taste of garlic is the heart and soul of many dishes. If you love adding garlic to your recipes, why not try growing your own! While growing full bulbs indoors may be a far-fetched idea, which you may pull off with some luck, a continual supply of fresh garlic greens isn’t hard at all.

With an indoor garlic plant, you have a beautiful, fresh ornamental to lift your mood, fresh garlic greens in just two weeks, and if you give it the optimal conditions, even garlic bulbs in some months! Continue reading, and you’ll learn how to grow garlic indoors, and you’re ready to get started!

What Kind Of Plant Garlic Is?

Garlic belongs to the allium genus and is closely related to onions, shallots, chives, and leeks. Its intensely flavorful and aromatic bulbs make a pronounced addition to any dish. It’s not just a popular seasoning used in recipes worldwide but also has several medicinal uses.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Garlic?

Garlic is packed with nutrients and offers many health benefits. It lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure, prevents cancer, and is effective against common seasonal illnesses, like cold and flu.

What Can You Do With Garlic Greens?

While it’s customary to use garlic bulbs for food flavoring, garlic greens are just as precious. Garlic’s green tops have a subtle garlic-y flavor, making them a flavorful, aromatic garnish to soups, stews, pasta, and salads. Though the flavor is milder than garlic cloves, it’s stronger than chives and green onions.

Besides, indoor garlic elevates your room’s ambiance, improves the air quality, and is accessible, especially when you avoid going outdoors in winters. With so many benefits, there’s no reason not to grow some garlic on your window sill.

How To Grow Garlic Indoors?

Growing garlic indoors is probably easier than you think. Just plant the cloves, care for them, watch them grow, and let’s not forget the best part – snipping off greens to sprinkle over your dishes!

If you’re growing garlic for the first time, follow this simple guide to ensure your experiment is successful.

Here’s How To Grow Garlic Indoors In A Pot

While you can start indoor garlic any time of the year, you’ll get the best results if you begin in fall or winter, when it’s cold outside. If planted indoors in early fall, you’ll be able to harvest mature bulbs by spring if the plants get plenty of sunlight.

How Big Should The Pot / Container Be?

Garlic is a shallow-rooted plant and will grow well in a container that’s 8 to 10 inches (about 20 to 25 cm) deep. You can use conventional gardening pots or repurpose buckets or metal cans. You’ll need to drill some drainage holes at the base if they aren’t there already.

Cover the drainage holes with a coffee filter or paper towel and fill it with packaged potting soil to about 2 inches (about 5 cm) from the top. Mixing in some slow-release granular fertilizer, like 10-10-10, will give your young garlic plants a healthy start.

How To Plant?

Pry open a garlic bulb to separate the cloves. Brush off the excess papery husk but don’t peel it completely. Choose the healthiest cloves to plant. Place their pointy side up and root side down on the soil and press it down two to three inches (about 5 to 7,5 cm) deep into the ground.

Plant the cloves closely packed if you’re only planning to harvest the greens; but, you’ll need a 4-inch (about 10 cm) gap between cloves if you harvest mature bulbs. You may need to add more potting soil over the cloves until they’re completely covered.

How Much Water?

Water the pot slowly until water comes out from the drainage holes. The soil should be moist, but avoid making it soaking wet.

How Much Light Does Garlic Need?

Place the pot in a sunny spot, preferably a south- or west-facing window that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. If the plants receive optimal soil, light, and water, you’ll find shoots emerging from the cloves in under a week. Wait till they’re about 4 to 6 inches (about 10 to 15 cm) tall before snipping.

How Do You Know When Garlic Is Ready To Be Harvested?

Generally, in about two weeks, you’ll be able to harvest green tops; but leave about an inch (approximately 2,5 cm) of growth each time you snip them so they can regrow. The bulbs will be ready to harvest in 8 to 10 months once the leaves die out. Take them out of the soil, brush off the dirt, and leave them to dry for a week before using or storing them.

Green Tops In Two Weeks, Bulbs After 8 To 10 Months

What Conditions Does Garlic Need To Grow?

Besides the necessary growing steps, there are some specific conditions that your indoor garlic will ask for to grow optimally. Here’s what you need to know:

Provide Plenty Of Sunlight

Garlic will need enough sunlight to develop, especially if you want to harvest the bulbs. Keep them next to the sunniest window in your house, and rotate the pot every few days, so all the plants receive the needed share of light. If you don’t get enough sun in your indoor space, consider installing grow lights over your plants to help them develop.

Maintain Consistent Moisture

Garlic needs consistent moisture. Indoors, you might not need to water as often as you would outdoors since the soil will dry slower. Check the moisture every few days; if the top ½ or 1 inch (about 1,3 to 2,5 cm) is dry, your plants are thirsty.

Should You Fertilize?

If you’re only growing the plants for garlic greens, feeding isn’t necessary. For the garlic bulbs to develop, you’ll need to give some extra fertilizer for proper development. To do this, feed your plants with a water-soluble balanced fertilizer diluted at half the recommended strength twice a month.

What Garlic Varieties Are Excellent For Indoor Growing?

Several garlic types are available in the market categorized under two main types: hardneck and softneck garlic. They’re suited to different climates and have slightly different flavor profiles. Let’s take a look:

Hardneck Garlic

It is better suited to colder climates, hardneck garlic has a woody stem in the center with larger, more flavorful cloves than softneck garlic, but fewer in number.

Since the cloves have fewer, loose outer layers, these varieties don’t store and softneck garlic and have a shelflife of only 4 to 5 months. Varieties include:

  1. Porcelain
  2. Rocambole
  3. Persian Star
  4. Purple Stripe
  5. Chesnok Red
  6. Polish Hardneck

Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic thrives in regions where winters are mild. Since they produce a softer stem than hardneck garlic, they can be braided together for long-term storage. They’re harder to peel, with more papery white skin, but also they are suitable for storage.

Grocery stores often sell softneck varieties since they have a shelf life of 9 to 12 months. They produce many cloves in each bulb but are generally smaller in size than hardneck types.

Artichoke

Artichoke garlic includes Applegate, Polish Red, Italian Purple, and Early Red Italian, to name a few.

Silverskin

Silverskin garlic includes Polish White, Kettle River Giant, Chet’s Italian Red, to name a few.

What Mistakes To Avoid When You’re Growing Garlic Indoors?

When you grow garlic, there are certain things that you’ll need to avoid:

  1. While planting the cloves, don’t remove the papery husk since there are chances that you may damage the clove in the process.
  2. When harvesting the shoots, please don’t cut them down too much. Trim them with sharp scissors, leaving at least an inch (about 2,5 cm) of growth so the plants can absorb the sun’s energy and continue to grow.
  3. Avoid overwatering the soil. Garlic is prone to rot in soggy soil.
  4. Avoid harvesting too early. If the wrapping starts falling apart when you take it out of the soil, you’ve harvested your garlic too early. Please put it back in the ground and leave it for another week.
  5. Harvesting too late can also be a problem. Leaving too late can cause the bulbs to split open, making them prone to diseases and rotting. It’s best to discard the bulbs that have split open or use them right away since they won’t store well.

How To Grow Garlic Indoors? – In A Sealed Package

Temp Required32 To 50°F (About 0 To 10°C) During The First Two Months
Sowing TimeAll Year, But Preferably Fall Or Winter
Type Of SoilSandy Loam
Transplanting TimeIndoor Garlic Grown Over The Winters Can Be Transplanted Outdoors In Spring
Harvesting Time8 To 10 Days
Light Duration6 To 8 Hours
WateringMaintain Even Moisture
FertilizationDiluted Balanced Fertilizer Twice A Month

Final Words

Garlic is one of the best and easiest veggies to grow, both outdoors and indoors, especially for garlic greens. Getting those big, juicy bulbs might take some expertise, but with the guidelines above, you know how to grow garlic indoors so that you can pull it off!

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