Growing Garlic In Containers Is A Good Idea

growing garlicEven if you live in an apartment in the city, you can still enjoy growing your own vegetables using the container method. Growing garlic is ideal in winter and thereby will not overlap other things you would like to grow. It also grows great in a large pot in the sun. You can plant garlic in October in just about all the 50 states, and trust us, you will never go back to garlic in a jar again!

Choose a Garlic Variety

Garlic adds a lovely delicious flavor to many foods, has a lot of health benefits, and there are several different varieties of garlic. In fact, you might be surprised to know garlic has over 400 varieties! Culinary experts say you can use garlic in whatever you eat, even desserts.

The most common variety is what is known as “culinary garlic” or allium sativum, and also offers the most health benefits. Allium sativum comes in two forms, softneck, and hardneck.  Both have the same medicinal benefits but vary in appearance.  Softneck is the one most commonly purchased in the grocery store.

While the garlic purchased in the grocery store will sprout, it is not ideal for planting. The reason for this is because it has most likely been treated to prevent sprouting. The ones purchased at the farmer’s market or nursery will work fine for planting.

Choose a Container

Any container that is at least 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide will work for growing garlic.  It does not have to be fancy, just the right size. You can use a 5-gallon bucket, a half barrel, or even the large plastic containers from the nursery that are used for trees.

One imperative regardless of the container you choose is to make sure it has drain holes. Other than that, if you plan to plant more than one bulb, make sure that each bulb is at least four inches from the sides and each other.

Prepare the Soil for growing garlic

The best soil for growing garlic is light soil (garden soil is too heavy). Garlic does extremely well in a combination of coconut fiber, peat moss, and vermiculite and no soil at all. Dampen the mixture slightly before placing in the container and fill until a couple of inches from the brim.

Planning the Garlic Planting

Begin by gently separating each individual clove from the garlic bulb, with the dry skin intact, and make a small hole in the soil approximately three inches deep.  Place the clove straight up with the rounded part down and the pointed part up.

Care and Concern

Growing garlic indoors is ideal and removes the worry of freezing temps that can kill the plant. Covering it with straw to prevent this, as well as exposure to bugs or disease.  Keep the soil moist, not wet, at all times and remember to fertilize every few weeks. Remove any flowers to encourage bulb growth.  When the leaves die off near the bottom, turning from green to yellow, it is time to excavate your garlic and enjoy the fruits (or garlic) of your labors.