How to grow spring garlic
- Start this growing project in April or early May.
- Fill the jar to the very top with water. Place the whole head of garlic (peel on), bottom facing down, on the top rim of the jar so that the bottom of the garlic is touching the water. If you want to sprout just one clove, put the bottom of the clove in a shallow bit of water in a cup.
- Place the jar or cup near a window. The roots will grow down (white color) and the leaves will sprout up (green color). Once a clove is sprouting up more than 1 to 2 inches, it is ready to plant. This will take 1 to 7 or more days depending on how fresh the garlic is. Keep any leftover garlic sprouting in the water or use it in cooking.
- Make sure you plant the garlic clove so that the roots can grow down towards water and nutrients and the leaves can grow up towards the sun. Plant sprouted cloves 4 to 6 inches apart. If the last frost date has passed, you can plant the cloves in the ground outside. If you are planting the cloves in a pot, make sure it is at least 12 inches deep with a hole in the bottom for drainage.
- Each day, the plant will need six to eight hours of sunlight. Water the soil enough to keep it evenly moist but not wet, especially during the first few months in the ground.
- Cut off the scapes when they start to grow. This will send energy back into the plant to grow a bigger bulb. You can eat scapes! Use them in cooking just as you would garlic—they have a milder taste.
- Water garlic less often for the 2 to 4 weeks before harvest. For the best quality, stop watering the plants when the lowest leaves turn yellow or brown.
- Harvest spring garlic in late July or August when the shoots at the top are turning brown, or earlier for a milder version with edible greens.
What you’ll need
- Garlic—a single clove or a head. Garlic grown in your area or in a similar climate might grow better, but give any garlic a try! Fresh garlic will sprout the fastest.
- Small cup or jar. Reuse a cleaned-out food jar.
About spring garlic
- Garlic planted in the spring has less time to grow than garlic planted in the fall, so “spring garlic” will be smaller, milder and sweeter and will have only one big clove. Harvest it at the end of July or in August, or earlier for a milder option with edible greens.
- Unlike garlic planted in the fall, it will not form a bulb. Sprouting garlic indoors in early spring gives it more time to grow before you plant it outdoors. The more time garlic has to grow, the larger the clove will be.