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How to Successfully Grow Your Own Garlic

Since garlic adds so much depth and variation to food, you probably wish that you could have a continual supply on hand. You actually can if you grow garlic indoors. Although most indoor plants for an edible garden start from seeds or a rooting hormone, the simple indoor garlic growing technique is different. It begins with something you’ve already experienced — seeing your grocery garlic sprout. You’ll cultivate that garlic sprout to its eventual maturity as a flourishing plant, and harvest its green shoots. 

Why can’t you grow garlic bulbs in your indoor garden? You’d need a minimum of six weeks of a winter cold cycle to undergo vernalization — sufficient low temperatures to induce bulbing. Because that’s not possible in your home kitchen, your indoor garlic supply will be trimmed from the plant. You’ll reach the same taste but with a more subtle and nuanced flavor profile. Unlike most vegetables, garlic grows well in bunches, so it’s the ideal container plant. Pick a sunny location, start with well-drained potting soil, and water lightly. You’ll really enjoy the satisfaction of your achievement, and you’ll have a convenient supply of your favorite garlic-infused dishes, like homemade garlic bread or garlic aioli.

How to grow your own garlic indoors

garlic sprouting in pot

Garlic varieties usually fall into two main categories: softneck garlic (Allium sativum var. sativum) and hardneck garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon). Both garlic varieties can be grown in your home, especially if you’re interested in growing garlic greens. Choose a 6-inch deep container — it could be a Mexican Talavera ceramic pot, a lightweight bamboo pot, or even a repurposed galvanized tub. Without removing the outer papery skin, break apart the garlic bulb, and insert individual sprouting cloves about 4 inches deep in fresh soil. Place the pointy green tip up and the flatter end down; the flat end will produce the roots. Plant as many sprouting cloves from the bulb as you like; just make sure the cloves aren’t touching each other.

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Position the pot on a south or west-facing window, as indoor garlic thrives with a minimum of 6 hours of bright indirect sunlight each day. The temperature and humidity in your home are usually a good fit for growing garlic indoors. Water the pot about twice a week with a gentle shower, monitoring so the soil is slightly moist, never dry, or soggy. By the second week, you’ll see bright green chive-like shoots spring up from each clove. Harvest when the greens reach 3 inches, leaving a 1-inch shoot behind to regenerate for several growth cycles. You can repeat the planting cycle later on if the bulb stops producing new shoots.

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