Stinky but good! After receiving several emails from people asking me how to grow garlic indoors, I decided to show you how. Garlic is a vegetable generally used as a spice in meals and is a popular medicinal plant, no wonder many people want to grow it. If you’re among the people giving growing garlic a thought, then you should know it isn’t rocket science. Garlic is easy to grow and manage.
Because garlic is comfortable growing indoors, you can have them among your indoor garden ideas. This is particularly useful for people who love to grow in a controlled environment or people who live in apartments with no yard space. You can place your garlic on a table close to your window or even hang it as part of your hanging garden idea.
When to Plant Garlic?
The fall is the best time to plant garlic outside. When it comes to indoor planting, you can plant garlic anytime. Because of the controlled environment, garlic can be planted all year round indoors.
There are two types of garlic and several other varieties from them. When you want to plant, it is better to buy the garlic from garden stores and not grocery stores as the garlic sold in grocery stores may have been doused with preservatives and may not be good for your climate condition.
Softneck Garlic Type
The softneck garlic is the common garlic found in supermarkets and stores. It has a soft stem and produces a high number of cloves (up to 18).
Another factor that makes it popular is its ability to last for a long time. Some of its drawbacks are mild flavors and its susceptibility to heavy winter. It doesn’t grow well in frigid climates.
Hardneck Garlic Type
This garlic type has opposing features to the softneck garlic. It has a stronger stem and thus harder. It, however, doesn’t last as long as the softneck; you will have to use it within the first three months after harvesting. The hardneck garlic produces fewer cloves (about 10).
The strong points this garlic type has over the other is its stronger flavor and ability to grow in diverse weather conditions including extreme cold.
Since this guide is for indoor garlic planting, there’s no need to bother about your garlic not growing in winter. If you’re looking to grow bulbs and not just green leaves, you will need to chill hardneck garlic before planting.
What You Need
When preparing to plant garlic indoors, there are some things you need to prepare to enable a smooth indoor planting session. Here are a few of the things you need for this exercise.
- Planting containers: Indoor planting means you wouldn’t be growing the garlic directly in the ground. So, you need a pot or container to grow these veggies. You may need cups and bowls for different stages. You can also learn how to make a plastic bottle garden and use it to grow your garlic.
- Garlic Cloves: You need garlic cloves to plant. The number of cloves you plant will determine the number of bulbs you’ll have.
- Potting soil: Because you’ll be planting indoors and in containers, you’ll need a sterilized potting soil. A sterilized soil will keep insects away from your plant, and home and will give the plant the necessary base to grow. Use a loose, well-drained soil for planting.
- Good location: Even though you’ll be growing your garlic indoors, you still need a suitable site for optimum growth. Garlic needs a place with up to 5 hours of sunlight daily. Places near the window and away from pets and kids are ideal.
- Fertilizer: Garlic can grow well without fertilizers, but if you decide to boost its growth, then a bone or fish meal fertilizer is best. And because garlic has to do with root development, adding a Nitrogen-based fertilizer will boost your harvest.
How to Plant Garlic Indoors
After getting everything ready, it’s time to plant your garlic. Follow this step by step process to get started.
Set Your Container
You need a wide and deep enough container for indoor garlic planting. A depth of about one foot and width of 6 inches is ideal. If your container does not already have holes under for drainage then, you have to create them yourself.
Depending on the type of the container, you can form tiny holes under it. If the container has a huge opening,you can place a paper wipe over it to prevent soil from falling off. Fill about ¾ of the container with soil.
Prepare the cloves
If you’re using the hardneck garlic type, you need to leave it in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks before planting for it to grow large bulbs. The softneck garlic type does not require a cold treatment but will produce smaller bulbs.
After the procedure, you have to separate the bulbs with your hands into cloves, ensuring you do not remove the outer wraps. Check the cloves for rot and molds and remove the affected cloves.
After preparing your cloves, you’re now set for the planting stage.Dip the cloves 2 inches into the soil with the pointy side facing upwards.
Ensure you leave enough space between cloves (about 2 to 4 inches) for proper sharing of nutrients and space.Cover the cloves with soil entirely and make sure to leave the soil loose.
How to Take Care of Your Indoor Garlic
Planting the garlic is just half of the job. If you don’t take proper care of it, it’ll just die out without producing anything. So what do you do? How do you ensure you get the best out of your garlic?
Garlic requires moist but not soggy soil. Water lightly when about ½ and inch down is dry and make sure the container has good drainage to remove extra water.
Garlic requires a good amount of sunlight to grow, and it doesn’t matter ifit is indoors or outdoors. So, place your garlic in a location that’ll receive a lot of sunlight. Some houses don’t receive enough natural sunlight. Here’s what you can do; install a steady grow LED light to help your garlic grow.
As already stated, garlic does not need a high amount of fertilizer but adding organic fertilizers a few times throughout the growing period will boost its growth.
Harvest Your Garlic
A few weeks after planting, the garlic green would be ready for use; simply clip the top of the leaf, leaving up to 1 inch to continue growing. While the green takes a few weeks, the bulb takes a little over six months to mature.
When you begin to notice the leaves turn brown or yellow, then it is almost time to harvest, and you must stop watering immediately. You can check the bulb by gently removing some layers of soil. Bear mind that it is better to harvest early than late as the bulbs can easily get rotten in the ground.
To harvest the bulb, gently remove the soil from the top of the bulb and pull it out of the ground. Careful not to pull it by the leaves as that could damage the bulb. At this stage, the bulb is delicate, and any injury could result in decay. Immediately take it away from the light and store in a cool, dark, and dry place for some weeks till it dries properly.
I told you. Growing indoor garlic is not difficult. It may take a while before you harvest the bulb, but you can start enjoying the green in your meals after a few weeks. Now, go ahead and grow your garlic.