Growing garlic indoors is convenient and it becomes super easy if you can grow spring garlic or scapes in water without needing the soil.
You just need a small glass container and some water to grow edible spring garlic or scapes within a few weeks.
This technique of growing vegetables in water is known as hydroponics and is used by everyday gardeners nowadays to grow vegetables indoors.
Garlic scapes are the green stems of garlic that usually are ready for harvesting in a short time span. It takes only 2 weeks for these scapes to be healthy enough for harvest. This makes growing garlic in water the best way to produce “garlic greens/scapes” year-round.
Spring Garlics are immature garlic bulbs.
Growing Garlic in Water Indoors
Culturing vegetables using just water and sunlight is a trend that is rapidly catching fire among garden enthusiasts. This method is mostly used for small herbs like mint and basil but is quickly expanding its territory.
Now garlic is the latest vegetable you can grow in this ergonomic manner. If you do prefer using soil, follow our guide to planting garlic in your garden.
Requirements for growing garlic in water
- Glass or transparent plastic container
- Superior garlic heads (sprouted garlic cloves would be better)
- Paper towel
- Toothpick (optional)
Step 1: Choose the Best Garlic Cloves
The growth of the garlic will greatly depend on the quality of garlic clove used. Poor cloves will not yield great results!
For this part, get sprouting garlic as it would be ideal. If you do not have sprouted garlic, you can sprout it yourself.
Take a few large healthy garlic cloves, and make sure to retain the white papery outer layer. Place the healthy garlic in a damp paper towel.
Put the towel in a warm location, but not directly in sunlight. A short span of 2 days will be enough for the cloves to start sprouting. The presence of a small green shoot is a sprout.
Step 2: Put Sprouted Garlic in Container
Place the garlic with the pointed side (sprouted end) up in a glass jar or transparent container.
Try to get a container that is appropriate for the garlic.
A shot glass is big enough for a single garlic clove, whereas 3 to 4 garlic cloves will require a larger jar. Make sure the container is never too big or too small as this may affect the garlic clove growth.
If your container is not shallow enough, you could have problems checking on your garlic and removing them to add water.
You can use a toothpick to pierce the garlic clove. This long toothpick can also act as a way of accessing the garlic clove when necessary.
Step 3: Place the Garlic Cloves in Water
Water needs to be added as it is the growth medium for this garlic growing technique. You should monitor water levels very carefully. Too much water will lead to rotting, and too little water will lead to drying or lack of growth.
As a rule of thumb, water should be just half of the height of the garlic. Slightly less is also acceptable.
Only use room temperature or lukewarm water to cover the garlic. Boiling hot water will possibly kill the garlic shoot and void it of any growth.
Step 4: Place the Container in the Sunlight
All plants are photosynthetic. This makes sunlight an essential element for garlic growth.
Making sure there is adequate sunlight is crucial since you are growing garlic indoors.
12 hours of sunlight a day would be good to stimulate growth. An ideal location for the garlic plant would be a sunny window sill. During this step, guard against signs of too much sunlight or not enough sunlight.
Wilting or drying leaves are a result of excessive sunlight. In this case, remove your container from sunlight until the leaves bounce back. On the other hand, lack of sunlight could appear as discolored leaves. Provide your garlic with a few more hours of sunlight.
Step 5: Top up With Water
As you observe the garlic plant over a few days, you will notice the color of the water has changed and it has become murky. The level of water will also come down. This calls for a change of water since murky water could be toxic.
Pour this water out of the container and replace it with fresh water. Remember to refill the water at the same level as before.
Step 6: Harvesting the Garlic Scapes
The whole purpose of growing garlic indoors is to harvest the garlic greens when desired.
Your garlic stems will develop fast and will be ready for harvest in 2 weeks. The appearance of roots from the clove would mean it is time to harvest. You will also know your garlic greens are ready to harvest once the shoots are between four to seven inches tall.
When harvesting garlic scapes, the first third of the stem should be harvested, with scissors, to refrain from tearing them off. The remaining bottom of the stem tends to be bitter as it is closer to the bulb.
Leaving the remainder of the stem will also promote further growth.
Harvesting garlic scapes should be done just before consumption so that flavor is strong and intense. Storing of garlic greens can diminish their strength and flavor.
After harvesting garlic scapes, the young premature garlic bulb known as spring garlic can also be consumed fresh.
Reasons to Harvest Garlic Scapes
Since garlic scapes are nothing but flowering shoots, they draw a lot of energy and resources towards their growth. People who want to grow garlic indoors for garlic bulbs should remove scapes as soon as they appear.
This will ensure that resources flow directly to the root area to the initial growth of the garlic bulb. Constant flowering can limit the growth of the garlic bulb leading to poor quality garlic cloves.
How to Use Garlic Scapes
You can use garlic scapes the same way you would use spring onions. The leaves are washed well, folded over, and chopped up or used whole. Let us look at a few of their applications.
5 ways to use garlic scapes
- They can be kept whole and marinated along with meats before a barbecue or roast. This helps to infuse a garlic taste into the meat.
- Chopped garlic greens can be sautéed and can compliment a mashed potato dish as a tastemaker
- Chopped and blanched or fried scapes make a great addition to tarts, omelets, and pies.
- The scapes can be blended in a chopping machine to make a pesto of sorts. You can still infuse other herbs (basil) to add more flavor.
- Create an unusual pickle by cutting the green garlic portion to a size of 5 inches. Put them in a lidded jar with vinegar. Add other companion vegetables like beans and even carrots.
What Type of Garlic is Best Grown Indoors in Water?
In order to maximize your output and get any output at all, you have to select the right variant of garlic. All variants of Hardneck garlic will give rise to a flowering stem, a garlic scape. Rocambole garlic is known to give characteristic curly garlic scapes.
The flavor of scapes differs from variety to variety. You can grow any of the following hardneck garlic variants for scapes:
- Purple Stripe
- Marbled Purple Stripe
- German Red
- Spanish Roja
Advantages of Growing Garlic in Water
Apart from hydroponics being exciting and fun, there are several other advantages.
- Growing garlic scape in water indoors is less messy. There is no need for soil making the growing process less complex.
- The lack of soil eliminates any need for a garden. This benefits everyone who lives in an apartment or dwellings that lack garden space. This makes it a more popular and probable way to grow garlic indoors.
- Growing garlic in water for garlic scapes is fast, easy, and an effective way to grow these vegetables. It is even suitable for inexperienced gardeners to adapt to this method of vegetable cultivation.
Yes, store-bought garlic bulbs act as a fertile source to grow garlic. They can be stored and then later be used to give a fresh endless supply of garlic scapes.
After harvesting the garlic greens, you can maintain the garlic plant which will eventually build healthy garlic bulbs that can be harvested and used.
Soaking garlic before planting can help to stimulate the growth of the roots. Advanced soaking of the garlic clove can promote faster germination of shoot sprouts. Using water to loosen a dry garlic clove can help the sprout emerge from the clove.
When growing garlic in soil indoors or outdoors, soaking can facilitate the growing process and make life easier.
The idea of consuming garlic water and raw garlic is said to yield many health benefits. Taking any raw form of garlic is said to detoxify the body and remove harmful substances.
It is also said that constant garlic consumption can reduce the chances of diabetes, lowers blood pressure, reduces heart disease chances, and certain cancers, and even inhibits depression to some extent.