Growing grocery store garlic is a great way to start your garlic garden! With a few simple tips you’ll be growing your own fresh garlic right outside your door. Once you’ve had “backyard fresh” garlic you will never want anything from the store again.
How many times has your garlic sprouted a little greenery before you could use it? It is still useful – you can grow it!!!
You can buy some amazing garlic bulbs specifically for growing in your garden. But you can grow the garlic that you find fresh in your local grocery store. Garlic takes some time but it is worth the wait, trust me. You’ll never regret growing fresh garlic in your garden!
Firstly, I recommend getting whole, fresh, organic garlic. You may find that the garlic you get at the grocery store has been treated with a sprout reducing hormone. This could keep you from getting a full crop, though I haven’t had a problem with it. Another option is to get some organic garlic from the Farmer’s market.
Types of Garlic
There are 2 major types of garlic that most people grow and use:
- The Softneck Variety which literally has a softer neck after harvest and often are braided for long-term use. They are especially good for warmer climates, so that is what I plant here in Phoenix. I also like that the softneck garlic has a more pungent flavor than the hardneck types.
- The Hardnek Variety do well in super cold climates but don’t store for as long. They have a hard stem and not as much flavor as the softnecks.
Tips for Growing Grocery Store Garlic
- Check for the optimal time to plant garlic for your zone. Here in Phoenix we start them in the October but many areas will be Spring starts.
- Your optimal planting area should get plenty of light and fertile soil that drains well. Mine grow wonderfully in raised beds.
- Break the cloves apart from the head. Look for cloves that are blemish free for planting.
- You want to plant the cloves 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep.
- Plant the cloves with the pointy end up.
- Once planted cover the area with mulch if your area is prone to freeze. Be sure to remove the mulch when it warms up.
- In less than 4 weeks you should start seeing shoots popping up through the ground.
- Trim off flowers the grow because these could cause smaller bulbs.
Growing Grocery Store Garlic – Harvesting
- Be patient – garlic can take 5 – 7 months to reach full maturity.
- The garlic will be ready for harvest when most or all the leaves have turned brown.
- Make sure to harvest before they completely dry out.
- Don’t water for a couple days before pulling the plants.
- Gently pull the plants; you can use a hand shovel to help get them out.
- Carefully brush the outside dirt off and let them cure in a the shade with plenty of air circulation. You’ll need to cure them until the outside papers are dry and paper-like.
Growing Grocery Store Garlic – Storage
- Remove the dirt and dirty “papers” from the outside of the bulb; but keep you want the outside wrappers!
- You can braid the softneck garlic or trim the roots and leaves and store them individually.
Now growing grocery store garlic is great but don’t limit yourself. Once you get a feel for how to grow garlic I suggest you branch out and order some from reputable seed companies who have LOTS of different varieties to choose from!