Check out these three ways to start new garlic plants growing them both indoors in your kitchen and outside in the garden.
Learning how to grow your own garlic is not only easy but fun. There are a few of nature’s edibles that are both, a delicious food source and a medicine. One of those champions is garlic.
Growing garlic should be on all of our agendas if we love great food and the enjoyable experience of preparing it.
If you love garlic as much as I do, growing your own garlic is such a pleasure. Not only does it save you money, but you also have the convenience of only walking a few steps to get it. It’s fresh and you know for certain it has not been tainted with any suspect chemicals or processes.
I am going to show you how to grow garlic in a few fun and easy ways.
Once you start growing your own garlic, I will explain some great ways to prepare, preserve and cook with this champion of the culinary world.
Getting Started Growing Garlic
The wonderful thing about growing garlic is that it gets you started without even lifting a finger.
Any of us who use garlic know exactly what I am talking about. Ever left your garlic in the fridge or even in your vegetable basket for a week or more?
If you have, then you know that this little beauty has already started to sprout. Garlic is begging you to be planted, so it can produce more and more for you.
You will already see that cute little sprout coming out of your garlic when left alone for a few days.
Now we can still cook with garlic if it has started to sprout but why not take a few of those cloves and produce more. Can we ever have enough garlic?
Whether you want to grow garlic inside, outside, or both, I will give you some helpful tips to ensure you have a never-ending supply.
I prefer to grow garlic both, inside my kitchen as well as in the garden, as I can never seem to get enough.
Let’s begin with a fun and easy way to grow your garlic inside.
Growing Garlic Indoors in Pots
Growing garlic is perhaps one of the easiest of all onions to grow. Yes, garlic is actually an onion and not part of the herb family. The great thing is that you can use it as you would an herb, so its versatility is fantastic.
All we really need to start growing our garlic are some small plant pots, potting soil, and a sunny place. Here are some simple directions we can all easily do:
- Find some small size planting pots, ones about 6 to 10 inches high and approximately 6 inches across are more than big enough. You can plant two or three in each pot.
- Fill the pots with a good easily draining potting mix (ask your local garden center). Fill the pots about 2 or 3 inches from the top. Garlic likes well-drained soil or it will get mildew or rot.
- Plant your garlic cloves about 4 to 6 inches deep into the potting soil. Plant with the little sprout up if it has sprouted. If not, plant the pointy end up.
- Add water. You can give it a good dose of water after first planting. After that just make sure the soil is kept moist.
- Check every 2 or 3 days by sticking your finger in the soil. If
there is some soil still on your finger when you pull it out, then it has enough water. If not, give it a drink.
- Find a nice sunny spot on your window sill or any place in your house that enjoys the most sun. Just leave it there and watch it grow.
Now that is a very easy and basic way to start growing garlic, but I also want to give you an alternative that encompasses a bit more imagination along with some great growing principles.
How To Grow Garlic Inside With a Water Bottle Wicking System
I would like to get you started in a fun way that you can get the kids or friends involved as well. The process involves so many aspects we should now more than ever encompass in our lives.
- Growing our own food
- A fun and interesting project
- The ability to observe nature everyday
This method of starting out your garlic makes it fool proof. You don’t even have to water it.
I will show you how to use the wicking method for growing. It’s fun and a great way to grow things if you’re too busy to take care of plants every day.
Growing garlic with the wicking method is a great way to learn, observe, this way makes it so easy. Growing garlic is probably one of the best plants to start with.
What we need to get started:
- Some used plastic water bottles or soda bottles
- Potting soil mix
- Cotton or hemp string
- Scissors or a box cutter
- The first thing to do is, take your used plastic bottle and cut it in half using some sharp scissors or box cutter. Be careful to cut it on top of some wood or cardboard so you don’t hurt yourself or slice your countertop.
- Take the cap off the bottle and cut or drill a hole big enough to feed your string through.
- Next, feed the string through the bottle cap, you will want about 10 to 12 inches of string or fine rope.
- Screw the cap back on with the string hanging out on both sides. You will need about 4 to 5 inches of string inside of the top half of the bottle, the rest will be in the bottom half.
- Slide the top half of the bottle into the bottom half.
- Fill the top half now with some potting soil about 2 to 3 inches from the top.
- Plant your garlic about 4 to 5 inches into the potting soil.
- Fill the bottom half of the bottle with water.
Place your wicking system in a sunny spot inside your apartment or house and watch it grow.
The result should look like this.
How this works is that the string or rope in the bottom absorbs the water and it gets drawn up to the plant by the soil in the top.
There you have it! You only have to look at the water reservoir at the bottom every couple of weeks. What could be easier than that to grow garlic inside?
How To Grow Garlic Outside
Growing garlic outside requires a bit more work than growing it inside but you end up with a lot more.
One thing to note before we get started. Unlike other vegetables and herbs you grow in your garden, which you would likely plant in the spring, garlic should be planted in the fall. So, late September to early October is the best time to plant. This is a general rule of thumb for those of you living in colder climates.
For those of us in temperate climates, you can pretty much plant garlic anytime and it will grow. The only thing to consider is if you have really hot summers you will need to water more often.
The simplest way of growing garlic in your garden:
- Find a sunny area of your garden. If you only have one square meter or yard that’s enough.
- Plant however many cloves you want, making sure you plant with the pointy end up, same as the potted inside garlic.
- Plant each one about 4 to 6 inches deep. Space them about 6 inches apart.
If you are planting in the fall, then cover the area where you have just buried your garlic cloves with about 5 to 6 inches of mulch. This will insulate the ground from the extreme cold.
(Mulch is any type of organic material like old grass clippings, hay, straw, or even wood chips old cardboard or newspapers will work too)
You will be thrilled in the early spring when you start to see the garlic shoots coming out of the ground.
Choices Of Garlic
There are a few types of garlic. You can, however, find dozens of different names, in a nutshell, there are really just three types.
- One variety only has one bulb, not multiple cloves.
- Then there is the variety we are all so used to that has numerous cloves. The first two both have stems that you can also enjoy almost like a green onion.
- Then there is a third variety that has no real stem and you just get the bulbs. They all have pretty much the same flavor, you might notice a difference in flavor strength not much else.
I just stick with the one that is most common in your local farmer’s market and every grocery store. If you do buy from the grocery store, ask the produce manager if they are a local variety.
Your local nursery or greenhouse will almost certainly have the local seeding variety. This is important if you are growing outside. You don’t want tropical variety if you are in a colder climate.
Let half of them sprout, enjoy cooking with the rest and you are on your way! Can’t get any easier really.
I will now share a little secret that most people don’t do. I let my garlic go to flower. If you have ever tasted the garlic flower, your head is bobbing up and down in agreement right now.
The flower has this gorgeous intense flavor that differs from the bulb. I personally enjoy using it even more than the cloves.
Collect the flowers let them dry, put the dried leaves in any old spice container, into your spice cabinet they go. This is a brilliant way to add smaller amounts of garlic to whatever dish you want.
If you really have a green thumb then you can try to grow right from the flower seeds. Why not?
Growing Wild Garlic
I am lucky enough to live in a temperate climate so the fields around me are full of wild garlic all spring and summer, so I collect as many flower heads as I can.
There are a few plants that are not good for you that resemble wild garlic, so just be sure to crush some of the flower or stem and smell it first. You cannot mistake the smell of wild garlic.
If you also are lucky enough to have it grow wild around you, get out and harvest some, it’s truly a gift from nature.
Some Quick Points To Remember When Growing Garlic
- Make sure you buy a local variety, Nurseries or farmers markets will have these.
- Buy a well-draining potting soil mix. Plant in part of your garden that drains well.
- Find a sunny spot indoors and in your garden.
- Plant outside in the fall.
- Share your bounty with family and friends.
Once you realize how easy it is to grow garlic you should never have to buy it again.
It’s not just that wonderful flavor but all the amazing benefits to our health that I encourage you to enjoy daily. By growing your own garlic you really get to enjoy the entire process every step of the way. I think somehow this makes it taste even better.
I look forward to showing you a whole heap of ways to use your garlic in the kitchen