Allium sativum or garlic has been around for thousands of years, which is useful not only for culinary applications but also in the field of alternative medicine. It is a native to Northern Eastern Iran and Central Asia. In the past, they are often in the wild, but now, they are common house plants, basically because of their abundance of applications in the kitchen or at home in general. It can reach its full growth within three to six months, so you need to be a bit patient.
There are three main varieties of garlic, but most of them share the same vegetative characteristics – elephant garlic, soft-neck garlic, and hard-neck garlic. If you want a large garlic, elephant is the perfect choice, which grows four to six large cloves. Under these three main categories, there are more specific varieties. For instance, under hard-neck, you can opt for Spanish Roja garlic, which has a mild-hot flavor, and Russian hard garlic, which has recognizable purple stripes on the bulb. Meanwhile, for soft-neck garlic, Silver White can be a good choice, which has a skin that will be almost effortless to peel. You need to be more specific when choosing what garlic to grow indoors, making sure that it will thrive even in a limited space
Planting and Growing Conditions
To grow garlic in an indoor environment, the first thing that you need to do is to prepare the garlic bulb. Make sure that it is in its healthy condition. It needs to be firm and there should be no signs of rot. It is also best to buy a bulb from a nursery and not from the grocery to be sure that it will be disease-free.
Set your bulb aside and prepare the container that you will use in planting garlic. The pot needs to have a minimum depth of eight inches, which should be more than enough for most varieties of garlic. See to it as well that there is a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, which will avoid the water from being stuck in the soil.
Prepare the soil where you will bury the garlic bulb. The soil needs to be light and well-draining. Three parts potting soil and one part garden sand will be a good planting medium. You can also add organic matter or compost to improve the nutrient composition of the soil. Fill the pot with soil, making sure that you leave about one to two inches of space between the top of the soil and the rim of the container.
Before planting the cloves on the soil, make sure to separate them first. Push each clove on the soil, making sure to leave about an inch of the clove exposed. If you are planting several cloves in one pot, leave at least four inches of space between each of them so that they will have enough room to grow.
After planting the garlic, the next step is to find the right location. The best would be the windowsill, which will provide the plant with bright sunlight but there will be no direct heat. The plant will thrive well in a window facing the west or south. It will be best if the plant will enjoy up to eight hours a day.
Garlic can be good for your health in more ways than one, such as through the following:
- Prevents Cancer: One of the best reason to eat more garlic is the fact that it helps to lessen the likelihood that you will suffer from cancer. According to several studies, it can be specifically effective in the prevention of cancer of the stomach and colon.
- Prevents Heart Diseases: Garlic is also highly-effective in strengthening the heart and in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. One way by which this is possible is through regulating the bad cholesterol in the body, which is because of the allicin that is present in garlic.
- Boosts Immune System: The abundance of antioxidants in garlic allows it to be effective in defending the body from cellular damages due to free radicals. Among others, it improves the body’s immunity from colds.
- Purifies the Blood: If your blood is healthy on the inside, your skin will be radiant and glowing from the outside. To achieve such effect, you might want to consider the consumption of more garlic.
- Improves Digestion: By making garlic a part of your daily diet, it will be easier to get rid of a variety of digestive problems. It improves the functioning of the intestine, which plays a crucial role in digestion.
- Heals Wounds: For thousands of years, garlic has been popular in traditional medicine as an excellent choice to speed up wound healing. Nonetheless, make sure to dilute it in water first. Applying raw garlic straight on the skin can lead to irritation.
Pests and Diseases
If you notice anything unusual about the foliage, such as loss of vigor and change in color, this is an indication that the health of the garlic can be compromised. It is possibly suffering from common diseases, which include basal rot, white rot, downy mildew, botrytis rot, penicillium decay, rust, and purple botch. Meanwhile, in the case of pests, the most common causes of infestation include leek moth and allium leaf-mining fly.
Care and Maintenance
How can you ensure a healthy growth for the garlic? How is it possible to lessen the likelihood that it will suffer from deadly pests and diseases? Below are some useful tips in taking care of garlic:
- Regular watering is a must, but avoid overdoing it. Water must flow slowly and gently from the top of the soil and not the top of the bulb. Make sure that water does not make the soil soggy. Otherwise, this can be a cause of root rot and other serious problems.
- At one point, you need to pinch the plant as it grows. To be specific, do this when the flower stalks first appear. If you do not remove the stalks, they will be the one receiving the energy and will deprive the bulb of the nutrients that it needs for a healthy growth.
- Know when to harvest. This can be a bit of a challenge for novice gardeners since they cannot actually see the bulbs. One good indication when it is ready for harvest is when the leaves fade and become brown. Make sure to pull it out as gentle as possible to avoid bruising, which will reduce its storage life.
With a garlic head, right container, and nutrient-rich soil, it will be possible to grow garlic indoors. It is not demanding in terms of space requirements, but you need to be a bit patient as it could take several months before it can reach full maturity.