Growing Garlic In Containers:
The following information is all about Growing Garlic In Containers.
Introduction to Garlic
Garlic belongs to the species of Onions. Garlic is used for food flavoring and as traditional medicine. China is the largest producer of garlic in the world. Garlic is a perennial herb grown annually, garlic harvesting period is 6 to 9 months. Garlic is easy to grow in containers, it can be cultivated round the year in mild climates. Garlic can be grown by planting its individual cloves in the soil. The cloves can be planted in autumn and can be harvested in spring or early summer. Garlic is a bulbous plant with sword-shaped green leaves that grow up to 4 feet and produces hermaphrodite flowers. Garlic plants need containers with sufficient depth, garlic plants can be grown close by leaving sufficient place between them. Garlic plants need loose and well-drained soil and a warm climate to thrive. Garlic has a very long growing season and needs a constant water supply. Potting soil should be rich in organic matter, garlic can be easily grown in a wide range of soils with different pH levels. Garlic can be easily grown indoors also, garlic grown in indoor containers can be cultivated around the year. There are mainly two species of garlic, hard neck garlic, and soft neck garlic. Hardneck garlic is grown in cooler climates and soft neck garlic is grown closer to the equator. Garlic is a disease-resistant plant, garlic can be affected by fungal diseases and nematodes. Garlic is a rich source of vitamin vitamins (B and C), manganese, phosphorous, proteins, dietary fiber with very little fat.
- Scientific Name for Garlic: Allium sativum.
- Family: Garlic belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.
Varieties of Garlic for Growing Garlic in Containers
- There are tons of varieties of garlic, and they are divided into two basic categories: Hardneck Garlic and Softneck Garlic.
- Hardneck Garlic: Hardneck garlic has a central stock with a single layer of cloves around it, hardneck garlic is known for its extreme hardiness. Hardneck garlic is suitable to grow in cold-weather regions. Hardneck garlic plant produces flowers, buds called scape that have amazing mild garlic flavor. Some hardneck garlic varieties usually grown are German Red, Masikij, Music, Elephant Garlic, Carcassone Wight, Red Duke, and Aji Rojo. These produce tight heads of garlic with 12 to 13 cloves around the stalk, these hardneck garlic have a rich and complex flavor. Hardneck garlic can be planted in spring or autumn.
- Softneck Garlic: Softneck garlic has swirling layers of cloves with no defined neck. Softneck garlic is suitable to grow in mild climates. Softneck garlic is easily grown in hot summers and mild winters. Each soft neck garlic has nearly 30 to 40 cloves per bulb and has a great traditional garlic flavor. Softneck garlic is famous for its huge yields. Softneck garlic doesn’t produce any flower scape. Softneck garlic has a less harvesting period, compared to hard neck garlic. Some varieties of soft neck garlic are Siciliano, Wright Cristo, Germidour, Picard Wright, Silver Rose, Nootkaa Rose, Viola Francese, Inchelium Red. This garlic can be planted in spring or autumn.
- Softneck garlic can be stored for a long period than hardneck garlic.
Propagation for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Garlic can be propagated from seeds and cloves or bulbs.
- Garlic has tiny black seeds, can be collected from dried flowers of the plants.
- Garlic seeds should be stored in refrigerators for four to five weeks before sowing to fasten up the germination process.
- Growing garlic from seeds is not recommended, as the process takes a long time and the germination of seeds is unstable.
- Growing garlic grown from cloves will result in edible bulbs in a few months and garlic grown from seed takes more than a year to produce edible bulbs.
- Don’t use grocery-purchased garlic for planting, as they are often treated to prevent it from sprouting.
- Buy organic garlic or garlic that is grown locally at a farmer’s market or from the nursery.
- Select garlic bulb with large and well-formed cloves for propagating.
- Before planting separate cloves from the bulb and place paper husk on each individual clove for a few days this fastens the growth of the plant.
Suitable Container for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Garlic has a shallow root system, so they need good space to stretch out in the soil.
- Choose a container that is at least 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide.
- Large plastic/clay/wooden containers, wooden crates, large reusable buckets, or half barrels are good choices.
- Clay or wooden containers are preferred as they are made of breathable materials and provides good aeration to the roots of plants compared to plastic containers.
- The Container should have a good draining system. Minimum 2 to 3 holes at the bottom is required.
- Cover the draining with fine mesh to avoid dripping of soil and place a layer of a cracked potter at the bottom of the container to avoid water clogging.
Soil Requirement for Growing Garlic in Containers
- The soil plays a key role in growing garlic in containers.
- Garlic is a heavy feeder, so the soil should be a good source of nutrition.
- Garlic is mainly affected by fungal diseases, so use soil that drains well.
- Don’t use normal gardening soil, as it gets heavy and soggy in winter. And the gardening soil has fungal and bacteria traces that can be easily affected by two garlic cloves.
- It is recommended to use a good quality soil-less potting mix rich in organic matter.
- The potting mix should have an equal portion of peat moss, compost, and vermiculite or perlite.
- Make the potting mix slightly wet before filling it in the container.
The Best time for Growing Garlic in Containers
- A suitable season to grow garlic in containers is to plant in the autumn.
- Garlic grows better if you plant garlic cloves between November to April.
- Many home gardeners plant garlic before Christmas to get better and faster yields.
- Some container gardeners choose garlic as summer crops.
- Garlic bulbs are planted according to the variety of garlic you are planning to grow and their suitability in spring or autumn.
The Suitable Temperature for Growing Garlic in Containers:
- Garlic grows well if temperature between 6 degrees to 10 degrees for about two weeks before planting.
Steps for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Fill the slightly damp potting mix, leaving 2 inches between the surface of the soil and the rim of the container.
- Select the large cloves, don’t pull out the paper wrapper around each clove.
- Hold the cloves upside down, pointed end facing up.
- Dig 4 to 6 inches deep small holes with 2 to 3-inch space between each clove.
- Insert the cloves and cover the potting mix loosely, don’t tamp soil cloves need air to sprout.
- Place the container in the location where it receives approximately 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Water the garlic enough to keep the soil moist but not too wet.
Water Requirement for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Garlic needs a good amount of water to thrive.
- And waterlogging can cause root rot, place a layer of cracked pottery will avoid water clogging.
- Water thoroughly when the top two inches of soil are dry.
- Water the plant till it flows out from the holes at the bottom.
- The container should have a good draining capability, so that excess water drains out quickly.
- During the summer or dry weather water the plant at frequent intervals.
- In winter, water the plants checking the moisture levels.
Sunlight for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Garlic needs a good amount of sunlight to produce full heads.
- The garlic plant needs at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily.
- Place the container facing south, this direction provides the best growing conditions.
- Containers can also be placed facing east or west also.
The Best Location for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Garlic is a warm and summer crop.
- Garlic needs a good amount of sunlight to thrive.
- Place the container where it receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.
- Container location can be our balcony, terrace gardens, back yards, and home gardens.
- Garlic is also grown indoor, place the garlic container near window sills or on window shelves where it can receive 5 to 6 hours of sunlight.
Winter Care for Growing Garlic in Containers
- In cold seasons, cover the surface of the soil with a thick layer of straws when the temperature freeze for a long period.
- When the temperature starts increasing remove the layer of straws.
- Don’t use straws in mild or wet winters.
- During dry winter, don’t let the soil dry out, keep it damp constantly.
Spring Care for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Once the temperatures start rising, remove layers of straw place them over the soil during freezing temperatures.
- Garlic grows well in the spring season, so when the garlic begins to grow fertilize it every 2 to 3 weeks.
- Use some mild, balanced liquid fertilizers to feed the plants.
- Once the scapes emerge cut them to promote the growth of garlic bulbs.
- The leaves of the plant turn yellow indicating that the garlic bulb is ready to harvest.
- Garlic will be ready to harvest during early summer.
Read this: Terrace Gardening.
Fertilizers for Growing Garlic in Containers
- If using a good quality potting mix supplemented with earthworm casting and bone meal, then the garlic plant doesn’t need any fertilizers.
- When cloves sprout, and when the shoots grow up to 15cm tall fertilize the plant with liquid fertilizer.
- Feed the plant with fish emulsion every two weeks.
- Worm juice and compost tea are the best feeds for garlic plants and can be used every two weeks.
- Sprinkling worm castings/ natural compost/ minerals under mulch can help to boost up the nutrition levels of the soil.
- In the case of hard neck garlic, water the plant regularly till the plant flowers, and then allow the soil to dry to harden the bulbs.
- In the case of soft neck garlic stop watering the plant before 1 month of harvest.
Mulching for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Garlic loves mulching, mulching prevents weeds and maintains moisture levels of the soil.
- Mulching keeps soil cool for long periods.
- Colder the winter, the deeper the mulch layer.
Pests and Diseases in Growing Garlic in Containers
- Garlic is a pest and disease-resistant plant.
- Garlic faces very few problems with pests. Onion trips are major insects that affect garlic.
- Onion thrips can be controlled by spraying horticulture oil or neem oil.
- Garlic can be affected by downy mildew, white rot, purple blotch, pink rot, and rust.
- Using well-drained soilless potting mix can control most of the diseases.
- To prevent the bulb from rotting, soak the cloves in a glass with equal proportions of baking soda and organic liquid seaweed for 2 hours before planting.
Harvesting for Growing Garlic in Containers
- Spring and autumn are the best seasons to grow garlic in containers.
- The harvesting time of garlic depends upon the time of planting.
- Garlic can be harvested when the tops begin to turn yellow and fall over.
- Fall plantings can be harvested in late July or August.
- Before harvesting check, the bulb size and wrapper quality, if you find it delicate discontinue watering and harvest them after a few days.
- For harvesting, lift the bulbs gently with a spade. Then brush the soil and let them cure in an airy, shady spot for two weeks.
- Bulbs are ready to use when the wrappers are dry and papery. The Crown of the root should be hard and cracked apart easily.
- Once the bulbs get dry, remove the leaves and dirt and store them in a dry place.
- Garlic can be stored for longer periods in a cool, dark, and dry place for several months.
- The more you dry the bulbs more the garlic flavor.
- Hardneck garlic doesn’t stay fresh for longer periods when stored.
- Softneck garlic stays fresh for longer periods.
Quick Tips for Growing Garlic in Containers
- For growing garlic form bulbs, buy bulbs from a reputable garden supplier.
- Chilling the clove in the refrigerator for a few weeks before planting will improve bulb development.
- Mulch heavily with straw during freezing winters.
- Garlic loves full sun and humus-rich soil with balanced nutrients.
- Mix the potting soil with worm casing, natural compost, bone meal, and well-rotted manure to provide a constant supply of nutrients to the plant.
- The pH soil should be between 6.5 to 7.0.
- Flower shoots that emerge in spring should be trimmed to increase the size of the bulb.
- Feed the plants with nitrogen-based fertilizer when leaves turn yellow during the growing period.
- During the bulbing period, water the plant every 4 days.
- Use a good quality potting mix rich in organic ma
- Garlic needs constant watering and 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to thrive.
- Use a well-drained potting mix to protect plants from fungal root rot.
- Garlic will be ready to store when the bulb is papery and crinkled.
- Avoid watering before harvesting so that the bulbs mature completely and dried.
- Hardneck garlic can be harvested when the 1/3 to 1/2 leaves turn brown and wilted.
- Softneck garlic can be when the bottom leaves of the plants start dying off or fall over.
- you can pull out one garlic bulb to check garlic before harvesting to check whether it is ready to harvest or not.
- Garlic is a heavy feeder and should be fertilized twice a month.
- Best companion plants for garlic are beet-root, strawberries, lettuce, and roses.
- Don’t plant garlic near peas or beans.
- Softneck garlic is best to grow in warmer southern climates.
- Hardneck garlic is best for cold northern climates.
- Garlic grows well in partial shade, can be easily grown indoors.
- Garlic grows well in patio pots or large containers.
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