If you don’t like the color and flavor of the garlic that you find in the supermarket then grow your garlic indoors. Yes, you can grow garlic indoors regardless of outside weather conditions. Garlic varieties that are available for home growers are way more flavourful than the market selling garlic.
In this post, I will show you how you can grow garlic indoors in pots and also outside in containers.
Growing garlic is a simple and easy process just follow my steps and you will surely harvest tasty garlic in summer.
Garlic growing season
Before we jump into the main course lets know more about the garlic growing season. It is important for you to understand a few important things about growing garlic at home. Garlic takes too long to get ready for the harvest. It takes about 8 to 9 months for small size clove to develop into big size head of garlic.
I know it’s hard to wait 9 months long to harvest garlic. Buying from the market is quick and easy. But once you taste homegrown garlic you will never buy it again from the market. Don’t drop the idea of growing garlic in pots just because it takes a long time to harvest.
You need to plant garlic cloves in the autumn season and your garlic will be ready for harvest in summer.
Which is the best type of garlic to grow at home?
Here you have two options one is hardneck and the second is softneck garlic. Let’s find out what is the major difference.
Hardneck: As the name clears this quality of garlic is on the harder side. Therefore it is easy to grow in cold climates.
Softneck: This type of garlic variety cannot tolerate the hard winters. Therefore it is best to grow it in a mild climate where the temperature does not go below 5 degrees C.
The best garlic for growing in pots in cold weather
If you live in an area where winter is hard like here in Pennsylvania, go for hardneck garlic types. The most important thing you need to keep in mind while growing garlic in containers is the temperature. Hardneck garlic needs to be kept under the 45 degrees F temperature for 40 to 50 days. So that the clove can sprout easily and it develops into the full head of garlic.
If the temperature goes above 45 F your garlic will not sprout. Therefore, start it indoors and find a place where you can control the temperature for at least 50 days. Hundreds of hardneck varieties are available to choose which one you like to eat.
Best garlic to grow in mild cold climate
If you live in a warm area where the temperature does not come down below 45 degrees F. In this condition you have two options one is softneck garlic variety and start planting it in middays of fall. The second option is to pre-chill the hard-neck variety.
Fake chilling hardneck is simple and easy. All you need to do is put the bulbs in the plastic bag and place it in the fridge drawer. Let them there for 6 to 8 weeks before planting them in pots. Take them out once the time limit finish and plant them in the container.
Control the temperature and they will sprout in a few days.
The best type of container to Grow garlic indoors
We all know terra cotta pots are the most popular choice when it comes to growing plants at home. But in this case, they are not the best option. Because they have pores in them due to which growing plants need more water. Also, the pots need to be placed outside in cold weather. When you put them outside, the water in the tiny pores gets freeze and the pot gets cracks.
Moreover, these tiny pores increase the aeration and your growing garlic cannot tolerate cold air. So, you have to go for other options like plastic pots and ceramic pots. Just make sure your pot is frost proof especially in the case of glazed ceramic pots.
Your selected pots should be 8 to 10 inches deep. This gives enough room to roots to grow healthy. A drainage hole at the bottom is a must in every pot that you are using for growing garlic indoors.
The diameter of the pot depends upon the number of cloves you want to plant in a single pot. Let’s say you want to plant 8 to 10 garlic cloves than you need a pot that is 22 inches wide. I use plastic pots with 22 inches diameter and 10 inches deep, plant 9 cloves in each pot.
Another advantage of bigger pots is you don’t need to water frequently. Because they hold the more potting mix than smaller pots so as the moisture content.
Best growing medium for growing garlic in a container
Most of the time growers take care of fertilizers, water, and climate. But they neglect the most important thing and that is soil mix. Half of the success depends upon the type of soil used for growing garlic in a container. As we plant cloves in the winter season, therefore, garlic needs well-drained soil. That does not hold the water but holds a good amount of moisture.
Garlic plant goes up to 3 feet in height so it needs heavy soil. My recommendation, you should use a high-quality potting mix with compost. For every 3 cups of potting mix add 1 cup of home-made compost. I recommend homemade compost because it is easy to make and is a cost-effective method.
If you don’t know how to make compost at home then click to Learn everything about making compost.
You can also buy it online with the potting mix or you can visit your near local garden store.
Best Fertilizer for growing Garlic plants
It is best to add specially made fertilizers in the soil at the time of filling the pots with it. Phosphorous is the main nutrients that garlic plants love to eat. Phosphorous encourages the heavy harvest with big size quality heads of garlic.
While choosing the garlic fertilizer to make sure it is specially made for bulbs into the pots. Use your hands to mix it well in the potting mix. Always wear garden gloves to protect your hands.
How to Grow Garlic indoors in Pots?
Just before the first frost is the best time to grow garlic indoors. Split the head of garlic into single pieces. Choose the bigger cloves for plating them into the pots. You can use smaller ones in your kitchen.
Plant each clove 3 inches beneath the potting soil with a sharp side upwards and round head downwards. In 22 inches diameter container, you can plant a maximum of 10 cloves 2 inches apart. To form large heads cloves, you need to give need a good amount of space to planted cloves. This is the reason that tightly planted cloves do not grow as expected.
Once you plant every single clove in pots, water them with normal tap water. And make a 1 to 2 inches thick layer of mulch or of shredded leaves on the pots. This acts as an insulator and keeps the potting mix warm and safe.
Water the garlic pots occasionally for 8 to 9 months even in winters. Lack of water is responsible for the dead pots of garlic. In simple words, if you give less water to your garlic pots you will get nothing in the summer.
How to care for garlic pots in winter?
In the winter season find a location in your garden where your pot of garlic can receive a minimum of 6 to 7 hours of sunlight each day. If you are living in an area where winters are hard then move the pots to a sheltered location. You also need to keep the soil warm and prevent it from freezing. Therefore, insulate the pot by spreading shredded leaves over it also cover it from the side as shown in the image.
Caring pot of garlic in spring and summer
Move the pot of garlic into the sunshine when spring arrives and start watering it on regular basis. To help your plant grow fast and healthy add 2 tablespoons of bulb fertilizer, sprinkle it over the upper surface of the pot, and leave it there. Do not mix it with the potting soil.
You will see tiny green shoots emerge from the potting soil and day after day these shoots grow bigger and become healthy green stalks. Wait until 50 % of the green stalk turn into yellow color. Once this happens it means it’s time to harvest.
When to harvest garlic growing in pots?
The early days of summer are the best time to harvest garlic. You have to check the color of garlic stalks. Once the garlic leaves turn into half yellow color. This indicates that it is time to harvest tasty juicy garlic. Dump the pot and carefully take out the garlic heads from the potting mix. Use garden gloves to do all tasks in your garden.