How to Grow Garlic Indoors and Out
Let's start by saying this: You can grow garlic indoors, but you won't get a head of garlic as you would when you plant cloves in the garden. What you will get is garlic sprouts or greens, which are the green tops of a bulb (much like what happens when a bulb sprouts on your kitchen counter). These are not the same as green garlic—early spring garlic or immature garlic bulbs and their edible green stalks. The greens are still quite delicious and can be used as a seasoning or garnish. You'll find their flavor is lighter and gentler than that of fresh garlic.
To grow entire heads of garlic, you'll need to plant outdoors, because, like other bulbs (think onions and daffodils), they need the cold winter dormancy to produce the scape (flower) and generate a head. "Garlic is a really easy crop to grow, and it can be easily grown in pots or [a raised bed], with little maintenance," says Samantha Foxx farm-her and beekeeper of Mother's Finest Urban Farm. "If you are like me, every dish needs garlic, so add garlic to your growing area!"
Growing Garlic Greens Indoors
To grow garlic greens indoors, plant three or four cloves in a pot filled with potting soil. Sit them on a sunny window ledge and water them lightly. The garlic greens will grow in just seven to 10 days and can be snipped. If you plan to have garlic greens on hand, you'll need to keep up with planting new cloves in succession as the cloves will be exhausted once they have grown the greens.
Growing Garlic Outdoors
For outdoor growing, garlic likes a well-draining soil with a pH of around 6.5 to 7, says Foxx. "If you have thin or sandy soil, adding amendments of healthy compost will be a plus to help with optimal growth of your garlic," she says. "Also, aged animal manure can be a good addition to help this crop thrive and be well-fertilized during the fall months." However, Foxx urges not to use unprocessed animal manure as it can spread disease to your plants.
It is best to grow garlic in a sunny space. "Full sun will be ideal for the best growing conditions and help it to thrive and grow into large beautiful bulbs," she says. "Plant in a sunny area during fall," says Foxx. "Make sure to separate or mark them, because they will need a longer time to mature."
How Long It Takes for Garlic to Grow
Garlic is ready to harvest around seven to eight months after being planted, says Foxx. "Some signs include the green leaves turning brown and the flower stems will get soft," she says.