Growing Pains: Growing garlic indoors – Part 3

My garlic that I’ve been growing indoors over the winter.

If that isn’t the saddest looking plant you’ve ever seen, then what the heck are you doing to your own plants?
It’s been a while since I posted an update on my adventures in growing garlic indoors this winter. Truth is, not much exciting has happened to warrant the usual video post. The plant has been growing and providing me garlic greens, not performing any amazing tricks.

But now, as it’s nearing harvest time, it has taken on a particularly pathetic air. Its once straight stems have slackened. They haven’t become particularly robust, staying spindly. And the entire quartet looks like they’re on the brink of death, despite my regular watering and keeping them near a source of sunlight.

In a few weeks, I will unearth what lies beneath that potting soil but I have a feeling I have proven Linda, my trusty gardening guru, right. You can’t grow garlic in a pot, at least not if your goal is bulbs and not greens.

Last year, I planted garlic in my garden for the first time and the roots morphed into tiny bulbs. Bulbs of Barbie kitchen prop proportions. Still, they were potent, despite their minuscule size and they made that beautiful crunching sound when smashed by my knife. Most importantly, they gave me the satisfaction of having planted and grown garlic myself, even if they would have amounted to duds by seasoned green thumb standards.

I don’t think these guys are even going to give me that much. My prediction: the roots will look like little more than that of spring onion.

So in keeping with my other Growing Pains posts, what do you think I’m going to dig up?


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8 Responses to “Growing Pains: Growing garlic indoors – Part 3”

  1. Julie says:

    I dunno, my husband tried growing garlic (outdoors) last year, and he didn’t have much luck either. Hopefully there’s something good under there!

  2. Tiffany says:

    Thanks Julie! I hope so, too, but am preparing for that not to happen.

  3. Anj from Bistro a-GoGo says:

    I grew a large crop of organic garlic for many years back in BC and from my experience I’d have to agree with your gardening guru. It won’t work. First question, when you say you planted garlic that turned to seed, do you mean you planted the bulbils that you get from the garlic flower? Or did you plant garlic cloves? If you planted bulbils you won’t get a garlic bulb for two years, if you planted a clove it should be from an organic garlic that has NOT been treated to not grow. A clove is a garlic ‘seed’. Garlic is a bulb and like tulips or crocuses needs a cooling period as part of it’s growing cycle, trust me if you miss your fall planting of garlic you cannot plant in spring and get results. So if you want to try again you could try planting the cloves and then putting the whole pot in the fridge for at least 6 weeks. Garlic hates to be overwatered, likes it stupidly hot, full sun, and requires an incredible amount of fertilizer, chicken manure is the best. When garlic begins to flower the scapes, the curly flower stalk and bud, should be removed, save them and sauté them in some butter, delicious. You remove the scapes so the plant puts it’s energy into making a bigger bulb. You should harvest your garlic around the end of July when the leaves are dying back. I’m afraid by looking at your pic that you won’t find much under there, BUT good on you for trying.

  4. Dirt Gently says:

    Pretty sure you’ll end up with a marble-sized garlic bulb. At least, that’s what I found after I dug up one of my potted garlic cloves.

  5. Dirt Gently says:

    Found a pic of the little baby bulb!

    http://twitpic.com/4b76gb

    It kills me how a half-moon shaped clove of garlic can turn into a perfect little globe. I wonder how that happens?

  6. Tiffany says:

    Dirt Gently, that’s exactly what mine looked like last year (the ones I grew outside). I marvel to at how a clove can give you an entire head, no matter how big or small.

    Anj, fear not, these were organic. They came from Linda and were in my CSA basket. Linda’s a longtime heirloom veg grower so I know these weren’t treated. It was actual seed garlic not the things that appear in the bulbous part of the scapes, which didn’t grow on my indoor specimens, much to my chagrin. I love garlic scapes. Anyway, curiosity always gets the better of me and I find my gardening endeavours are more experimental than fruitful. Thanks for reading guys.

  7. Anj says:

    Good seed is the key to success, so great that it is organic and from an heirloom grower. Keep experimenting with your gardening curiousities, it’s a great way to learn and you never know what you might end up with. :)

  8. Tiffany says:

    This is why I do it. but enough sunlight also helps and I fear my tiny plot doesn’t get enough, so I’m trying to do more with containers. At least now I know not to try growing garlic in them! I have to come eat at your place soon. I look forward to meeting you.