To begin, understand that while you can grow Garlic from cloves indoors, you will not end up with a full head of Garlic like you would in the orchard. You will receive the green tops of a garlic bulb, also known as garlic sprouts or garlic greens.
Green Garlic is not the same as these greens because it is made up of young or underdeveloped garlic bulbs and their edible green stalks. Although the flavor is milder and subtler than fresh Garlic, it is still quite delicious and can be used as a flavoring or seasoning.
Is Garlic even an Indoor Crop?
If you want fully developed bulbs from your garlic crop, growing it indoors is a much more challenging endeavor than growing it outside. If you want to grow Garlic, you’ll need a warm place with at least six hours of sunlight each day. This makes growing Garlic an excellent option for those who live in homes or apartments. A window that faces west or south is probably going to work the best.
Because garlic cloves can be sown fairly close together when growing for their shoots, it is possible that one or two tubs of Garlic measuring 6 inches in diameter will be adequate for your needs, depending on how much Garlic you eat.
If you want to grow actual bulbs, you will need to cool down them over several days before growing them in the ground. You can do this by placing them in the refrigerator or another place at a cold temperature. As with many other longstanding bulbs, Garlic, particularly the hard neck varieties, requires a period of cold incubation for the plants planted to develop into fully grown bulbs.
This cooling period is less vital for soft neck forms, which will develop more effectively without the chilling time frame; soft neck variations are often favored for indoor planting because of their ability to withstand warmer temperatures. After a few weeks of cooling in the early fall, bulbs sown inside may be ready for harvest in spring if given adequate sunlight. If you only want to cook with the green shoots you pluck off; you don’t need to chill them first. Wait until the young greens have grown to a size suitable for food preparation before removing them.
What Factors to Consider when Cultivating Garlic in an Indoor Environment?
When the outdoor gardening season comes to a close, the bulbs of Garlic are usually divided into cloves and sown in pots for subsequent growth indoors. The exact timing of this transition depends on where you live.
Conditions of Heat and Dampness
Garlic can be grown indoors, so harvesting can occur continuously throughout the year. Avoid exposing the Garlic you grow indoors to temperatures that are either too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature range is somewhere between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Garlic thrives in arid environments, which is likely why it was first domesticated in the arid regions of Iran and central Asia. Garlic can be grown successfully indoors without the need for increased humidity.
Because garlic bulbs thrive best in bright sunlight, it is not recommended to grow them indoors with fluorescent lighting. Planting a single clove of Garlic in a container and placing it where it will receive the most light allows the clove to mature into a bulb. The ideal location for growing Garlic is in a place with ample sunlight (doors facing south). Garlic is difficult to cultivate during the winter because the days are so small, and the plant needs more than six hours of sunshine each day. Growing Garlic for its greens rather than its bulbs requires less sun exposure.
If you are growing garlic plants for the bulbs, you should fertilize them twice a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to one-half its normal strength before applying it to the plants. When Garlic is grown solely to harvest its greens, fertilization is not required.
The Soil for Planting and Drainage
If garlic bulbs are kept in soil that is too watery for an extended period, they are more likely to rot. Garlic should not be grown indoors in garden soil that was bought, as this type of soil does not siphon well when contained in a vessel. Sand and loam are ideal growing conditions for Garlic. Peat, coconut fiber, potting mix, and compost are some additional mediums in which Garlic can be planted.
It is necessary to use a hand towel or a piece of transparent plastic covering to protect the large holes in the bottom of the container. This is done in order to prevent soil from escaping the container while still letting water flow freely through the holes.
Maintenance and shaping of the branches
Before cutting the shoots with kitchen shears, it is best to wait until they have grown a few centimeters, or about an inch, taller. It is important that the green shoot on each clove not be completely severed, as this will enable the shoot to continue growing.
It may take several years from the time the cloves are planted until the bulbous Garlic is ready for harvest, so have patience. Once the tender new leaves have turned brown, you should completely stop watering the plant. Once the shoots have completely dried out, which should take about two weeks, the bulbs will be ready to be picked for use in the preparation of food. If stored in a cool environment, garlic bulbs have a long shelf life and can be used whenever desired.
When growing Garlic, it is essential to maintain a moist soil that is not overly saturated with water. In about two weeks, there should be shoots of greenery emerging from the soil. Garlic plants require a total of 1 inch of water each week, but if they are grown in very well-drained loose soil, you can get away with giving them 2 inches. This is the general rule of thumb rather than one that is based on inches; water the pot whenever the soil mix feels dry to the touch.
Replanting Garlic After It Has Been Planted
Any fully mature garlic bulb, whether developed outside or purchased as seed, can be used for indoor planting. Some farmers suggest chilling bulbs for a few weeks before sowing them.
Using a knife or a screwdriver, pry open the garlic bulb and separate the cloves. Don’t remove too much of the dry husks; just brush off the excess. Any cloves that are soft or have molds should be thrown
away. Potting soil should meet about 2 inches below the rim of the vessel. Insert the cloves, spiky side up, down halfway into the mix, and plant them in the container. When planting bulbs, make sure to leave an area between each clove. For garlic greens, plant the cloves closely but not touching.
Ensure all the gaps between the garlic cloves are filled before adding more potting mix to the container. Gently brush the soil down. Gradually fill the vessel with water until it begins to leak. If garlic cloves are revealed through the soil, you should add more potting soil.
When to take It Outdoors for the Summer
Garlic is sun-loving and cold-hardy. The bulbs can be cultivated when the green tops are browned in July. You can develop Garlic inside and then bring it outside once it sprouts in the spring. Putting it in direct sunlight will assist the plant and bulb in developing to full length. On warm days, the plant will require more water.
When to Reintroduce Garlic Indoors
In most climates, Garlic can be left in the ground or vessels outside over the cold season without special care. It goes into a resting phase, but when temperatures rise again, it begins to grow again. Plant garlic greens indoors at any time of the year if you want to enjoy them through the colder months.
If you want to keep your Garlic intact through the warmer months, you can bring it inside and keep it there until the seedlings turn brown, which means the bulb is ready to be picked. Bring your Garlic indoors for two hours on the initial day, then four the very next, six the day after that, and so on over two weeks to help the plant adjust to the change in environment.
Always check your plants for traveling insects before attempting to bring them indoors. Whether it’s just a few bugs or a full-blown insect attack, it’s best to take care of it outside first.
The onion and Garlic both belong to the genus Allium and are closely linked to one another. This isn’t an onion but rather a species all on its own. The plant can thrive outside as well as inside provided it gets the required treatment and environment to sustain its growth. Now you can easily plant your Garlic indoors using this guide and develop your own indoor garden without a challenge.