Garlic is an excellent spice to add to our indoor herb garden repertoire. To begin with, growing garlic has very little cost outside of our standard indoor herb growing setup – which may include a bit of growing lights if you don’t have direct sun for much of the day. To grow garlic, it is as simple as taking a garlic blub (the garlic seed as it were), removing the individual cloves and planting those. A word of caution however – grocery store garlic tends to be sprayed with chemicals to restrict the ability of the garlic to sprout, which is not what we want! It is recommended that you purchase bulbs from a specialist. If you can’t find one, then I would recommend starting with organic garlic.
There is one main thing to keep in mind when planting garlic. This is a sub soil growing plant – while it does have leaves above soil, the bulb grows beneath it. That means the most important thing to keep in mind here is drainage. You don’t want your garlic sitting in water, or it will simply rot. That is one of the reasons indoor growing is so well suited – it is easy to set up a pot with excellent draining for the garlic to grow in.
In terms of the pot that you will use for growing garlic, there are a couple simple guidelines to keep in mind. You want your little garlic cloves to be spaced about 3-4 inches apart when you plant them. The diameter of your pot will determine how many you can plant – however you do want your pot to be 10-12 inches deep. A good place to start may be a 12” diameter pot that is 12” deep. You would then plant your cloves – pointy side up – about 1.5” below the surface, and 3-4 inches apart from each other.
Most recommend planting garlic in October/November – this is really for those growing outside. You want to plant garlic before it gets too cold, but for about a month after planting, you want to keep the pots in a cool place – about 50 degrees F. Make sure you keep the cloves well watered during this time. At this point its simply a matter of watering regularly – again you don’t want the cloves sitting in water and thus rotting, but you don’t want the soil getting too dry either.
Follow these steps then approx 10 months later you should have full bulbs ready to harvest. A quick note on harvesting: It can be a little challenging to figure out when to harvest them. If you harvest the garlic bulbs too early, then they will be small. There are two ways you can figure this out – if you dig up a bulb and check the layers, if there are 3 layers on the outside then it is ready, if there are more then it is not. On digging up bulbs – don’t pull them out by the plant, instead use a shovel and fully dig them up. Another way to tell that they are ready is to wait for the leaves to start browning. If you planted in October/November, this will be around August/September the following year.