How often have you pulled a clove of garlic from the bulb only to find that a tiny green sprout is sticking out of the top? Or perhaps you cut into a clove to find that the inside is a vibrant green color. While many people might throw the sprouting clove away or simply chop it up and mix it into their favorite dish, they are missing a great opportunity to grow a very sustainable food.
Garlic may just be the most used spice in many households. It’s versatile, offers great flavor, and has many health benefits (not to mention it repels vampires!). It’s not exactly expensive to buy, but it’s also incredibly easy to grow—especially once your cloves start sprouting.
Each individual clove of garlic can yield an entire bulb of up to 20 cloves, which makes it a very self-sustaining crop to grow. It also doesn’t take up much room and can be grown either in the garden or in a small pot. Garlic does particularly well when planted in the fall or winter months, when it has time to get a nice cold treatment. Next time you see your garlic start sprouting, follow these simple steps to grow your own garlic:
- Choose a planting or pot location. Make sure it is an area that gets a lot of sun and where the soil is not too wet.
- Plant the clove in damp soil about an inch deep. Sprouts should be allowed to stick up through the soil.
- If planting multiple cloves, place them about four inches apart to give room for the bulb to grow.
- Keep soil damp but not too wet. Leaves will begin to sprout upward. When those leaves have browned and then died away, your garlic has reached its maturity. Do not harvest before this point or the bulbs will be too small.
- Once the leaves have died, you may harvest the garlic.
- After pulling the garlic from the soil, it must be dried to prevent it from rotting. Hang bulbs in a cool, dry place for approximately one week. If you have several bulbs, you can also braid the stems together before hanging them.
- After one week, you may brush the dirt off gently, but don’t wash the bulbs.