Have you ever thought it would be great to have garlic growing indoors, available whenever you need it for your favorite recipes? Since garlic grows from cloves not seeds, it is quite easy. Following is a guide to help you grow your own garlic indoors over the winter months.
When to Plant Your Garlic
The best time to plant your garlic is in the fall. The plants will grow throughout the winter months and be ready for harvest in the spring. It can take up to 180 days to produce a bulb. If you do plant garlic in the spring, it will still grow but the bulbs will be somewhat smaller.
Choosing a Clove to Plant
Although you can purchase your garlic cloves from a nursery or greenhouse, it is not necessary. Simply purchase large bulbs from your grocer. Be sure they look healthy and are full-bodied.
Choose a Sunny Location for Your Plants
Garlic plants thrive in sunny locations, so a windowsill would be a good choice to place your plants. To keep your plants from getting root rot, be sure the container has holes in the bottom for drainage. There should be ample air circulation so any excess water can evaporate easily.
How to Plant Your Garlic
Select a container that is deep enough for your cloves and large enough to plant several at a time. Garlic needs a crumbly soil. You should combine rich compost or cow manure with your black dirt and loosely fill your container.
Separate the outside cloves from the bulb and plant each one two inches deep. Plant each clove pointed end up, approximately six inches apart. When done planting water the soil well. Cover it with three inches of mulch to protect your plants from the cold. Straw is an excellent choice.
Caring for Your Garlic Garden
Feed your garlic plants with garden fertilizer and be sure to weed them. If you keep your soil moist, you will soon see green shoots sticking through the straw. Remove the mulch when the green shoots emerge (early spring) and start feeding your plants with garden fertilizer. Feed them once a month and be sure to water them every other day.
As soon as the green shoots turn brown, stop watering your garlic plants. This is a sign that they are almost ready to for harvest.
Harvesting Your Garlic
When approximately two-thirds of your plant tops have turned brown, it is time to harvest. Gently push a garden spade under the bulb and remove it. Do not pull it out of the soil by its top. Harvest all of your garlic at the same time.
Feel free to use some of your freshly sowed garlic immediately. Dry the rest by tying your bulbs together and hang them in a warm location. Once dry, they can be stored for future use. Bon Appétit!