The Idiots Guide: How to Grow Garlic In The Kitchen, Garden, or Growing Anywhere in the Home
How to grow garlic at home.
Growing garlic at home is so simple you will wonder why you have never done it before. Garlic can be grown in window boxes, greenhouses, in the garden and even in plant pots in the bedroom.
Its classed as a winter vegetable and requires planting in the Autumn / Fall. A rule of thumb is to ensure you have planted the garlic bulbs before Christmas.
If not, don't worry, it will still grow almost all year round.
Quite simply, there are none. The best way to produce garlic to rip open a garlic tuber and plant individual cloves.
It is not advisable to plant cloves of garlic that have been purchased from the local supermarket. These cloves are usually covered in chemicals and you never know what diseases they carry or if they will grow properly.
Experiment a bit and plant some from the local shops and some from garden suppliers, see what happens.
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Local garden centres or internet garden suppliers will eagerly sell you some natural seed garlic cloves for planting.
These are best because they have been grown from special growing stock to produce large garlic bulbs.
Garlic requires a minimum depth of approximately 8 inches to grow, so any plant pots need to be 8 inches tall. But these can be placed in the kitchen or even the bedroom.
Window boxes are excellent for growing garlic in, even if you made one yourself out of old pallet wood.
Planting Your Cloves
Plant individual garlic cloves, and not the whole garlic plant together. Separate each clove and throw away the skin.
Although there are several types of garlic cloves available, they all grow much the same and have similar requirements. But some of the best ones are Cledor, Wight Cristo, and Elephant garlic.
Get some deep seed trays, plant pots, baking trays or anything you can lay your hands on, as long as it allows for drainage. Place in the trays at least four inches of soil or compost.
Then, and this is the difficult bit, ensure that the pointy end of the garlic clove is facing upwards.
Push the clove of garlic ( still with the pointy end upwards ) into the compost, just enough until it can stand up itself.
Then cover over the garlic cloves with another layer of compost or soil until the clove is buried under about 1 cm of soil.
NB: Leave about 4 inches between each clove of garlic to allow it to swell.
If planting rows of garlic in the garden, each row should be about 12 inches apart.
Now it is time to wait. Play some games, have another child, build a car, you have lots of time.
If you have simply planted the garlic cloves straight into the garden, watch out for birds. Most birds love garlic and will pinch yours all day long until you have none left. It may be advisable to cover over with some kind of mesh.
If you have planted the garlic in deep seed trays or small plant pots, then place on a windowsill, water occasionally and wait for them to sprout before you transplant them.
Transferring from a small plant pot or seed tray to a bigger pot or soil in the garden is the most dangerous time. This is where garlicide happens frequently and many will die in the battle.
Once the garlic seedling is about an inch or so tall, or leave till the spring if the small pots are big enough to handle it for now, then replant it into its final resting place.
Gently, very gently prize out the garlic, do not just pull out by the small stem. Use a spoon and lift the seedling out, even with the soil still attached.
Make a hole in the larger pot or ground where it is going to go and simply place the seedling into it. Push soil up against the seedling and gently compress down until the plant can stand up itself.
Water gently then back away, your job is done, now its time for mother nature to take over.
Everyone does it. We all pick a garlic up now and then to check if they are growing okay.
Once Spring has faded and we are entering the summer, the garlic should be ripe for harvesting. Simply pull up the cloves of garlic, and there you have it, you have brought new life into the world. May is usually optimal for harvesting garlic.
Go and celebrate down the local watering hole and wet your new babies head.
Do not use the same soil or compost the next year for the same vegetable crop.
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Hints & Tips
Garlic likes water, but not to much. The plants will drown if the ground is waterlogged or cannot drain properly.
Garlic does not like competition for soil. If weeds grow to close to the garlic, the garlic will not form properly. Always weed around the garlic. Even when growing in the kitchen.
Garlic loves the sun. Always allow natural sunlight to drench your garlic plants, especially if growing indoors.
Garlic and horse manure get on really well. A well fed soil, either with manure or a good compost will help bring out the best in your new plants.