Growing garlic (Allium sativum) indoors may seem like an impossible feat, but with proper care and conditions, it’s not only possible, it’s rewarding. Although garlic is an easy-to-grow vegetable, growing it indoors is a long-term project. In this article we will discuss how to grow garlic indoors and its care.
Choose the pot
The first step in growing garlic indoors is to prepare the container for planting. Choose a container about 20 cm wide with at least the same depth.
A pot of this size will comfortably fit one or two bulbs, but if you want to grow more choose a pot that allows you to have at least 10-12cm between each bulb.
A minimum depth of 20cm is ideal so that the bulbs can form underground without being tied to the roots. If possible, a depth of 30 cm even better.
Make sure it has adequate drainage holes. Garlic bulbs rot easily if the soil is too wet.
Prepare the pot to grow the garlic inside
The growing medium you choose is a very important decision, as it will sustain your garlic for the next 9 months.
Bags of potting soil are ideal for growing garlic because it has a good texture and does not clump, holds water well, and is readily available at many stores.
Topsoil is not recommended for container growing as it compacts easily, trapping water and creating a less than ideal growing environment.
You can also use soil from your own garden, but be sure to mix it with a healthy dose of compost. Since the garlic will stay in the pot for a long time, adding compost is a worthwhile investment.
Choosing the Best Garlic to Grow Indoors
You can buy your garlic from a reputable seed company, or you can grow it from bulbs you bought from the store or supermarket.
Garlic from seed companies has the advantage of being certified seed. This garlic will likely have superior germination and growth. If you buy from a local nursery, you also have the advantage of buying garlic well suited to your particular climate.
Be sure to buy certified organic bulbs and, if possible, look for garlic that has a few small green shoots, it will give you less work to grow. If you can’t find them, choose the ones that seem the most tender and fresh to you.
Plant garlic in pots
Now that you have your garlic and your pot is ready, it’s time to plant your garlic.
Expose your garlic to cool temperatures before planting
This is because garlic grows best when it has been chilled for a few months in a process called vernalization.
Without this cold exposure, most garlic cloves will not develop properly and you will not get good bulbs.
To simulate vernalization, place your garlic cloves in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, but up to 2 months is even better.
Keep in mind that this is necessary if the cloves you are going to plant do not yet have green shoots, if you already have some, it is not necessary to carry out this process, you can plant them directly .
sink every tooth
You can start growing garlic indoors as long as the temperature inside the house is 10 degrees Celsius or higher. Remove any loose paper skins to start with, but be sure to leave the shells on each clove as this will protect them as they grow.
Make a hole about 5cm deep for each clove you are going to plant. Place the dent in the hole with the flat side down. Cover it with soil and make sure it is straight.
Water gently to wet all the soil but be careful not to make puddles. Below we see the garlic care inside.
Care and cultivation of garlic indoors
Now is the time to grow your garlic and watch it grow. Growing garlic indoors is fairly easy, but here are a few things to ensure a healthy plant and a bountiful harvest.
Make sure your garlic has the right lighting
Garlic needs full sun to grow, or at least 6-8 hours of light per day. It is best to place the garlic in a bright window so that it receives as much natural light as possible.
However, light filtering through a window isn’t as strong, especially if you’re growing your garlic in the winter when the sun’s rays are weakest.
In this case, you will need to supplement your garlic with artificial light. There are many inexpensive grow lights you can buy, or you can make your own using LED or daylight fluorescent bulbs.
How much and how often you water your garlic will depend on a number of factors, including your local climate, the amount of sunlight it receives, and the temperature in your home.
Remember that potting soil dries out much faster than garden soil, so you don’t want the soil to dry out and the garlic to shrivel up and die. But don’t overwater it either, or it could rot.
A good rule of thumb is to water the garlic when the first inch of soil is dry. Add just enough water until the excess begins to come out of the drainage holes.
watch out for insects
By growing indoors, she is safe from most pests that invade your garden. Plus, the pungent smell of garlic deters most insects and rodents that might enter your home.
However, garlic is not immune to pests, so if you see signs of infestation, take care of them quickly before they become a problem.
Harvest indoor garlic
After about 9 months of careful cultivation, you are ready to harvest your garlic bulbs.
Many people think that by trimming the leaves they force all the energy into the roots to grow a bigger bulb, but that’s not true.
By pruning the leaves, you remove vital leaves and deprive the plant of valuable nutrients. The larger and healthier the garlic leaves, the larger and healthier the bulb will be.
Once the green stems begin to dry out and die back, the bulbs should be ready to harvest. Take out the bulbs and remove the dirt that has stuck to them.
Let them air dry in the shade, this is called curing, placing them on the counter for 7-10 days or you can hang them in your kitchen to make them look better.
Once the bulbs are dry, you can store them in a dry, well-ventilated place for about 6 months (if you don’t eat them sooner).
Growing garlic indoors is a long process, but well worth it. It’s always a pleasure to grow your own food, even if it’s just a single garlic plant in your kitchen.
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Each time you grow a new bulb, you can save one or more cloves to replant, and you’ll have an endless supply of garden-fresh garlic.
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