Growing your own garlic (Allium sativum) is a very satisfying task. Moreover, growing garlic is quite easy. But what if you don’t have a garden? Can you grow garlic? Sure. In this article, we share everything you need to grow garlic in pots.
Basics of growing garlic in pots
Before getting into the details of growing garlic in pots, it is essential that you understand a few basics about growing garlic. Garlic has a long growing season. And by long, I mean long.
It takes 8 to 9 months for a small clove of garlic planted to grow into a head of garlic ready to harvest.
But don’t let the deadlines stop you. Home grown garlic is a treasure well worth the long wait. In cold climates, cloves are usually planted in the fall (usually around the time of the first frost) and the heads are not harvested until the following summer.
When and how to plant garlic in pots
The best time to start growing garlic in containers is in the fall, just as the first frosts arrive.
After filling the soil with a mixture of potting soil and compost, separate the cloves before planting them but do not remove the protective envelope (envelope) that each one has, if you grow “peeled” garlic they will not grow .
Push each clove into the ground, pointed end up, so that the base of the clove is buried and the tip is just above the ground.
Remember that the soil will settle down a bit after you water it. Unlike planting in the ground, when growing garlic in pots, you don’t need to use a trowel; simply push each clove into the soil with your finger.
Place the garlic cloves 5-10 centimeters apart. Don’t clutter them. To form big buds, the teeth need a lot of space.
Once the cloves are planted, water the pot well and put a layer of mulch about 5 cm thick above the soil. I like to use straw, but you can also use finely shredded leaves. This layer of mulch helps insulate the bulbs from the cold during the winter.
It is absolutely essential that you keep the pot watered throughout the garlic’s life cycle. Yes, this means that you will need to water occasionally for the next 8 or 9 months, even in winter if the ground is not frozen.
When learning how to grow garlic in pots, this cannot be emphasized enough. Lack of water is responsible for the death of many pots of garlic in the spring.
Growing garlic in a pot
Selection of pans
Instead of terracotta, I recommend using a plastic pot, glazed ceramic, fibrous stone or plastic stone.
The container you choose should have a drainage hole in the bottom and should be at least 8 inches deep for the roots to grow. The width of the pot will depend on how many cloves of garlic you want to grow.
My pot for planting garlic has a diameter of 50 cm and I plant 8-10 cloves in it. The larger the pot, the more cloves you can plant.
type of terrain
When it comes to learning how to grow garlic in a container, you should know that your success depends on many things, but one of the most important – and often the most overlooked – is choosing the best mix of ground for work.
Garlic needs a well-drained soil mix, otherwise the cloves can rot, especially in the winter if it rains heavily.
But garlic also needs fertile soil heavy enough to support large plants and expanding heads in spring and summer.
For this reason, I recommend mixing a high-quality potting soil with compost in a 75:25 ratio. In other words, for 3 cups of potting soil, mix 1 cup of compost.
If you don’t make your own compost, buy it by the bag. To save money, you can also use my basic potting soil recipe found here if you want to mix your own from scratch. Watch: What is it and how to make potting soil.
Once you’ve filled the container with a mixture of potting soil and compost, it’s time to add the appropriate compost.
Garlic is a bulbous plant, just like daffodils and tulips, and in order for it to produce large heads of garlic, the plants need a good amount of phosphorus.
Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of a granular organic fertilizer formulated specifically for bulbs into the pot. Use a trowel to stir the fertilizer and distribute it evenly in the pot.
Potted Garlic Care
Place your jar of garlic in a sunny location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. If you live in a mild climate, you can leave the pot there all winter, but if you live in a cold climate, when winter comes, move the pot to a sheltered place next to your house.
To help insulate the soil and bulbs, pile up dead leaves or straw around the sides of the container. Do not stack them on top of the pot, but around the outside of it.
You can also wrap the pot in a layer of clear plastic to better insulate it. You can skip this step if you don’t mind the bulbs freezing, but isolating the garlic for the winter months is an important success factor.
When spring arrives, place the pot of garlic back in the sun and continue to water it regularly. Sprinkle another 2 tablespoons of granulated organic bulb compost over the surface of the soil.
In early spring, small shoots will emerge from the ground. They will soon turn into large green stems. Let the plants grow until the foliage is 50% yellow. When this happens, it’s time to harvest.
When to Harvest Garlic
Garlic leaves usually begin to turn yellow in early summer. Once they are half yellow, empty the pot and dig up the garlic heads. For more information on drying and storing harvested garlic, see this article.
As you can see, learning how to grow garlic in a pot is a worthwhile task. Yes, it takes a lot of effort, but I promise you the payoff is absolutely delicious.
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