For thousands of years, cultures around the world have prized garlic for both its pungent, aromatic contribution to cuisine and its diverse medicinal properties. This hardy, easy-to-grow bulb adds incredible depth of flavor to soups, stews, roasts, marinades, and more – it’s no wonder garlic has been a staple in kitchens across countless civilizations.
But garlic is much more than just a flavor enhancer. Modern scientific research has confirmed that garlic boasts a wide array of health benefits, from boosting immunity to reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, combating cancer, and more. The secret lies in garlic’s bioactive sulfur compounds like allicin that offer antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and other protective effects.
Unfortunately, buying garlic at the grocery store can get very expensive, especially if you cook with it frequently. The cloves lose potency over time and are often treated with growth inhibitors to prevent sprouting.
This is where growing garlic yourself comes in – when homegrown, you can harvest garlic fresh anytime you need it. Plus, by growing your own endless supply, you’ll save money and have total control over the garlic’s quality and flavor.
In this in-depth article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about planting, growing, and harvesting garlic at home. We’ll provide tips on choosing garlic varieties, proper planting techniques, and how to care for your garlic crop.
You’ll discover that garlic is one of the easiest, low-maintenance plants to grow. We’ll also dive into the science and research about garlic’s many health benefits. From lowering your risk of certain cancers, improving cardiovascular health, and boosting immunity to helping manage diabetes and more, garlic provides a simple way to protect your wellbeing every day.
Homegrown garlic wins out over store-bought for its superior freshness and flavor. So skip the grocery aisles and learn how to grow and enjoy your own healthy, organic garlic with this complete guide.
All About Garlic
Along with green onions, garlic is one of the best health-friendly plants you can grow at home. It is super-easy and super-cheap. You may not like its taste and odor, but eating a whole garlic bulb a day works miracles for your body.
Garlic is a simple food that has strong healing properties. Garlic is rich in nitrogenous substances, sodium, potassium, selenium, calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulfuric, phosphoric acid, vitamin C, D, B, phytosterols, extractives, and essential oils.
It contains a phytoncide called allicin, formed during mechanical destruction of plants, meaning you should crush or grind your garlic to enjoy maximum benefits from this component.
Researchers believe that allicin has strong bacteriostatic effect which cures infections quite faster. Garlic is packed with anti-fungal agents, which makes it much more powerful compared with many antibiotics in use today.
How To Grow An Endless Supply Of Garlic Indoors
- several garlic bulbs (or heads)
- organic potting soil
- 1 planting pot
First, a word of warning!
Much of the garlic sold at grocery stores is treated with a hormone that prevents cloves from sprouting to prolong their shelf life.
For best results, I recommend using garlic from a farmers market, organic garlic or wait until you see the garlic begins to sprout on its own, often forming nubbins of roots at the same time. If you take a closer look, you might even see cloves sprouting at the store!
- Use only good garlic heads.
- Take a large pot and fill it with potting soil.
- Separate the cloves and put each clove vertically at a depth of 1 inch.
- Cover the cloves with an inch of soil. Keep the pot in an area exposed to sun.
- Water the pot when it starts to dry out, same as you do with any indoor plant.
- Cut the greens when they are 3-4 inches tall, and leave an inch so they can regrow.
- At some point of time, the greens will stop growing. When they dry up and turn brown, dig out the cloves and each of them should have formed a full bulb. Take a clove from that bulb and start all over.
When to Plant
In fall, plant cloves in well-drained beds after the first frost has passed and the soil is cool. Cloves can also be planted in late winter as soon as the soil thaws, but fall-planted garlic produces bigger, better bulbs.
Garlic likes a lot of moisture, but will start to develop yellow leaves if they stay wet for too long. Since garlic loves cold weather, experimenters from zones 9-11 might be better off choosing another variety through mail order.
On the bright side, you can also grow elephant garlic using the same instructions and it typically performs much better in warmer climates than its smaller cousin.
Garlic Types To Try
Soft neck types grow best where winters are mild, though some tolerate cold to Zone 5. Most varieties do not produce scapes (edible curled flower stalks), but soft necks are great for braiding. Subtypes include Creole, artichoke and many Asian varieties.
Hardneck types adapt to cold winter climates, and all produce delicious curled scapes in early summer. Popular subtypes include porcelain, purple stripe and rocambole varieties.
Elephant garlic produces a large, mild-flavored bulb comprised of 4 to 6 big cloves. Closely related to leeks, elephant garlic is hardy to zone 5 if given deep winter mulch. Fill your hands with freshly-harvested garlic right from your own window sill and enjoy good health!
Growing your own garlic is easy, fun, and rewarding. By planting some bulbs in your garden or containers, you’ll have access to fresh, flavorful garlic whenever you need it. Use homegrown garlic in your favorite recipes and feel good knowing you’re boosting your health with its powerful sulfur compounds.
Research shows garlic can help fight cancer, improve heart health, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, boost immunity, and more – when eaten regularly, it becomes a simple way to protect your wellbeing. Avoid the exorbitant prices and subpar quality of grocery store garlic by joining the homegrown movement.
With just a small investment of time and space, you can grow an endless supply of one of the world’s healthiest foods. The next time a recipe calls for garlic, head out to your garden instead of the store. Your dishes and your body will thank you.