I get asked quite often if garlic can be grown in pots. The answer is yes, it can be. Today I decided to pot up two bulbs of garlic along with lots of photos so that you can watch along with me as it grows and is harvested next summer.
I decided to try two different varieties--Kettle River Giant is a mild soft neck garlic and German Extra Hardy is a porcelain type hard neck garlic.
I divided each bulb into indivual cloves. That made 6 German Extra Hardy cloves and 13 Kettle River Giant cloves. Each clove will make one bulb of garlic after it is planted.
Then I mixed some good potting soil half and half with compost from my compost pile. I tossed in several large handfuls of bone meal and stirred in enought water to moisten the mix so that it was soft and crumbly.
The mixture all got put into two medium size planters.
Then I tucked in the garlic cloves, intitially spacing them 3-4 inches apart in each pot.
I had a few cloves left over. And I had the bright idea to tuck those into the pots as well. See, the best thing about growing your own garlic isn't the mature bulbs, it is those juicy, exquisitely flavored, not yet mature bulbs that you pull in May and early June. You haven't had garlic until you've sliced fresh from the garden, young garlic bulbs onto a salad or sandwich. There is nothing that compares to that. So, why not tuck in a few extra cloves into your pot to pull out as young bulbs? Just remember, that you will need to pull them out when they are still young. As the rest of the bulbs mature, they will need the space to grow and mature.
When that was done, I smoothed the soil over the cloves and tucked the pots into a safe out of way place under a bush in the flower garden. I basically wanted them in a place were they would be protected from the wind and sun as well as my little goats and where I could easily cover them with straw for the winter.
Finally I broke open a bale of straw and tucked it around the pots.
Indigo and Pebbles got pretty interested in the process at this point....
I shooed them away and topped off the pots with more straw. Now the for the rest of the winter the garlic cloves will put their energy into developing strong roots, and come spring will send up green vigorous shoots.
Come spring I will take the pots out of the straw and move them to a sunny location on the porch to grow. If all goes as planned, I should be pulling some young garlic in May and harvesting the mature bulbs in July.