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How to Grow Garlic From Garlic Cloves Bulb Indoors and Outdoors, and When To Harvest Garlic

Garlic is one of the easiest plants that you can grow in a container or garden. You can grow garlic outdoors and indoors quite easily. Garlic is the most widely consumed allium after the onion in the world. China produces about 65% of the world’s annual garlic production, while India and Korea grow 5% and United States 3 % of the annual garlic production.

Types of Garlic

Garlic Bulbs
Garlic Bulbs

Garlic is divided into two main varieties that can be grown:

A. Softneck (Braiding) Garlic (Allium sativum var. sativum)     

  1.  Hardiness Zones: Recommended for zones 3 to 9.
  2. Softneck garlic varieties give out a spice flavour, they do not grow any flower stalk. They grow soft stalks that are easy to braid. 
  3. They have smaller, hard-to-peel cloves.
  4. Softnecks mature faster than hardnecks, and they produce more cloves per plant.
  5. Artichoke and silverskin garlics are softneck garlics, they are large and stores for long time.        

B. Hardneck Garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon)

  1. Hardiness Zones: Recommended for zones 3 to 8   
  2. The hardneck garlics produces a flower stalk (scape) which coils into a 360-degree turn, then straightens out to produce a cluster of bulblets at the top of the stalk. 
  3. Hardneck garlic has fewer large cloves that come in many colors and strong flavours. 
  4. They are easy to peel.
  5. Major varieties for hardneck garlic are Asiatic, Turban, Porcelain, Creole, Rocambole, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, and Glazed Purple Stripe. The Asiatic garlic have 8-12 big cloves in a bulb and have a storage time of about 4-5 months, after that they begin to sprout. The taste of Asiatic garlic is  strong.
  6. Porcelain garlics are very high in allicin and are one of the most popular gourmet garlics. Porcelains are very large and only have around 4-6 cloves per bulb. 
  7. The hardneck varieties such as the rocambole or the purple stripe are the most flavourful cultivars, while the softneck varieties like silverskin garlic are for long-term storage.

How To Grow Garlic in Pots or Garden Indoors or Outdoors

You can grow garlic from a clove, that takes around seven months to mature, from planting to harvesting. Each clove planted will grow into a new bulb consisting of 5 to 10 cloves. 

You can grow garlic indoors in containers or outdoors in garden bed. You can also grow garlic greens indoors in water very easily.

Where to Plant Garlic : Position

Garlic needs full sun to grow. Look for a spot that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

Garlic Seeds or Cloves Suitable for Planting

  1. If you're replanting garlic from your previous years stock, choose the biggest heads.
  2. It is better to buy garlic sold specifically for planting from a garden seed shop. 
  3. Store bought garlic bulbs can also be used to grow garlic. However, sometimes  garlic cloves may grow from the supermarket may have been treated to prevent them from growing in the store, you can try. I have always grown garlic from the store bought garlic cloves.

When to Plant Garlic

  1. It is important to plant garlic at the proper time to get bigger bulbs. 
  2. One mistake many garlic growers make is to plant garlic at the wrong time. Many people make the mistake of planting garlic too early. Planting too early results in too much leaf growth and smaller bulbs. 
  3. The garlic grows best when the monthly average temperature range from 13 to 24°C (55 to 75°F). 
  4. The best time to plant garlic is in March or early April in warmer climates and in spring in cooler parts of Australia. 

Soil For Growing Garlic

  1. A neutral soil having pH in the range 6.5 to 7.0 is the best soil for growing garlic. The soil should be well-drained and nutrition rich. Standing water in the soil will rot the growing garlic bulbs inside.
  2. Prepare the soil by digging and loosening it to a depth of at least 8" inch, break any bigger chunks of soil and remove any pebbles.
  3. Add some river sand or perlite to make the soil free-draining, 
  4. Add lots of compost or cow manure in the soil to add nutrition. You can mix some slow-release fertilizer. 

Garlic Seed Preparation
Garlic bulb outer skin removing
Remove outer skin to take out cloves 

  1. First remove the outer skin from the garlic bulb and separate the individual cloves. 
  2. DO NOT remove the papery covering on each clove or DO NOT peel the individual garlic clove before planting.

Planting Garlic Cloves
Garlic clove for planting
Garlic clove for planting, do not remove outer skin 

  1. If the soil is completely dry, then water lightly just to moisten it.
  2. Plant each clove 3 to 4 inch deep depending upon their size, 3 to 4 inches apart, keeping the pointed ends facing up about half inch below the surface . Plant in rows spaced 10 to 12 inches apart.
  3. DO NOT water until the cloves germinate, which takes be about two weeks after planting. 
  4. Sometimes the garlic cloves in your kitchen may sprout and produce green shoots, they can be planted. The sprouted garlic cloves will form bulbs having more garlic cloves.

To Grow Garlic Greens Indoors

To grow garlic greens indoors, plant four or five garlic cloves as mentioned above in a pot filled with free-draining potting soil. 
Place the pot on a sunny window, water only lightly. 

To Grow Garlic Indoors in Water 

Growing garlic in water is much easier than planting garlic plants in soil. Just put the garlic clove above  a water in a glass and you will see your cloves to sprout in a few days.

Watering Garlic Plants

How to water your garlic plants? 
  1. Do not water garlic after planting until it germinates and you see green shoots.
  2. Keep the garlic plants evenly moist but not wet during the first few months after cloves begin to grow. 

Fertilizer for Garlic

Apply a slow-release fertiliser at planting time and then after 3 months apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to fatten out the bulbs.
 

Harvesting Garlic

How to know when to harvest garlic. The garlic bulbs are ready to harvest when the lower two or three leaves turn yellow or brown, let the stalk dry for about two weeks and then harvest the bulbs that formed underground.
If your garlic plant have produced flower, dig up your garlic when the flower is dead and the leaves have browned half way down the stem. 

Growing Garlic in a Container or Backyard?

  1. You can grow garlic in a container in your balcony, terrace or at any place which receives direct sun light.
  2. Growing garlic in a pot helps you to move the pot in a sunny position or indoors if the temperature falls too low.
  3. You can also grow garlic in your garden bed in a sunny location.
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Garlic as Pesticide and Fundgicide

Companion plants for garlic:  Garlic is an excellent pesticide and fungicide. Growing garlic in the garden will keep the soil healthy, it will effectively repel the harmful insects or pests while retaining beneficial ones.

How to Care For Garlic Plants

  1. Garlic needs very little care.
  2. Water often to keep the soil moist.
  3. Cover the soil with a thick layer (4" to 6") of mulch. Mulching helps keep weeds away and the soil moist.
  4. Feed with a nitrogen-rich fertiliser.
  5. I cut back the green shoots every now and then and use in cooking. This cutting will encourage new growth.
  6. If stalks grow, remove them to maximise growth of the actual garlic bulb. 

Garlic as Pesticide and Fungicide

Companion plants for garlic:  Garlic is an excellent pesticide and fungicide. Growing garlic in the garden will keep the soil healthy, it will effectively repel the harmful insects or pests while retaining beneficial ones.