You can easily grow your own garlic indoors

October 31, 2018

It is pictured on Egyptian tombs from 3,000 BC, even mentioned in the Old Testament, with folklore saying it sprouted from Satan's footsteps when he fled the Garden of Eden. Garlic (Allium sativum) is now one of the most popular and healthy foods to eat.  

But it isn't just the cloves that are edible. Cooks are just discovering that you can eat the stalks or leaves, much like chives or scallions, with a distinct but mild garlic flavor. While the flower stems are often called “garlic scapes”or garlic spears, the leaves can be used in the same way.

Chop and add to omelets or top a pizza with them. They make an excellent pesto with or without basil leaves. Drizzle them with olive oil and grill them, or even pickle them like green beans. You can add garlic greens to stir fries or soups.

Finely chopped and mixed with sour cream or yogurt, garlic greens make a full-bodied dip for vegetables. Whisk finely chopped garlic leaves into salad dressings, and their somewhat grassy flavor adds a different twist.

Blend chopped garlic leaves with softened butter to make compound butter that is great on steaks or other meats. This garlic butter is a also quick way to make garlic bread.

If you want an even milder garlic flavor, you can blanch the greens in salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately plunge them into an ice bath, which will stop the cooking. And for true garlic fans, use garlic greens along with cloves of garlic to make double garlic soup.

Best of all, you can easily grow your own garlic indoors.

To grow your own garlic greens indoors, choose a pot with drainage holes, and fill with ordinary potting soil. Separate your garlic bulbs into individual cloves, taking care to leave the outer skin on. Because some garlic bulbs are treated to prevent sprouting, use organic garlic.

Plant the individual garlic cloves with the pointed end on top, up to a dozen cloves per pot.  Don't worry about overcrowding, because you are not trying to grow underground bulbs, but lots of aboveground greens.

After planting, water them well, and set the pot in bright light. Keep the pot well watered, but never soggy, or the garlic can rot in the soil.  

That's just about all there is to do.  Within a week, your garlic will sprout long green leaves or shoots. Eventually these will bloom, but you will want to eat them well before that.

Even though you can snip the greens anytime, a full harvest is after the plants are just about a foot tall, when they are still tender. For a steady supply of garlic greens, plant new pots as you harvest the greens from your first pot.

Plant garlic in a pot, and you will have a quick supply of fresh, pungent greens. And while eating a lot of garlic greens may not make you lose weight, from a distance your friends will think you look thinner.

  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.