The Q&A Archives: Stored Garlic Sprouting

Question: I stored some of my garlic harvest for use over the winter. However, already some cloves are sprouting. Can I plant these cloves in containers and grow them indoors? If so how many to an average 5 inch round pot? Would it be better to put them under my grow lights or in the window?

Answer: I would separate out the cloves that are sprouting, and either use them immediately, or plant them in containers and use the garlic greens that grow from them to flavor your recipes. For growing greens, you can plant the cloves so they almost touch -- you can fit quite a few in a pot. I'd opt for grow lights vs. a windowsill because the light is more even and the plants will be less subject to widely fluctuating temperatures.

I'd also check that you are providing proper storage conditions for the remaining garlic. It's possible that your garlic is sprouting because you are storing it in too warm a place. The best way to store garlic is in ventilated bags in a dark place with low humidity and temperatures between 33F and 45F.

Also, it's important to properly harvest and cure garlic you plan for long term storage. Wait until about three quarters of the tops have fallen over naturally before harvesting, then dig up the bulbs and store them in a dry, shady place with good ventilation, such as an outdoor shed or barn, for 10 days to two weeks. After they've cured, put them in cold storage.

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